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University of Nairobi unveils PhD in Journalism programme

James Momanyi @jamomanyi

The University of Nairobi (UoN) Senate has approved the curriculum of the long awaited doctorate programme in journalism.

The programme starts in September this year following  conformity with regulator, Commission of University Education (CUE) requirements.  The UoN School of Journalism and Mass Communication will be the first department to offer the taught PhD curriculum.

Until last year, local universities were allowed to offer doctorate degrees through research and thesis, a practice that CUE has banned beginning this year. Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi said the curriculum for the new programme has been modelled to meet world-class standards.

“I congratulate all those drafted this curriculum to ensure high quality in line with CUE requirements,” Prof Mbithi said. The SOJ director Dr Ndeti Ndati and his deputy Dr Samuel Siringi worked closely with the Graduate School boss, Prof Lydia Njenga, to develop the curriculum.

Dr Ndeti said many media and communication practitioners have expressed intention to join the programme and have already applied for admission, only awaiting the approval of the programme by CUE.

Since last year, universities have been burning the midnight oil developing new curricula for the doctorate degree programmes to comply with the CUE rule that requires students to undertake course work for at least one academic year before moving into research and thesis. 

The institutions are supposed to come up with the programmes and have them approved by their senates and CUE by  year end. The commission stopped the award of PhDs to students who directly conduct research and are taught through seminars, saying such a system produced weak graduates.

The new rule is expected to streamline the education sector after a damning report released last year indicated that some degrees issued by some local universities were questionable. This led the universities to task various schools and departments to work round the clock to implrement the new policy.

For instance, Prof Lydia Njenga had ordered UoN schools and departments to introduce course work for all PhD programmes in line with the new CUE requirements and to the satisfaction of the university performance contracts.

Prof Mbithi had  also instructed his heads of departments to ensure they deliver solid programmes that can attract students from all over the world. He had also directed the quality team at the institution  to work with the departments and schools to ensure degree programmes meet CUE and international standards.

University of Nairobi principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof Enos Njeru said the university has pulled all stops to ensure the new regime on doctorate programmes are of highest quality. “We are determined to ensure that our PhD course works  will continue to put the institution in world academic map,” Prof Njeru said.

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