Writing about this, would seemingly look in the eyes of the reader like Iam the Public Relations of such a university in a certain developing country but boy, Iam aint close. Iam only a rabbit-plagued-attitude freak who in the words of Prof. Baryamureeba ‘…questions everything’. I can thank Mr Pluto and Aristotle and my former ‘Prof’ of Philosophy Father Adrian, God Bless him, wherever this man is! Anyways, let’s get to business.
Universities in Uganda currently stand at 30 plus, and continues to grow so fast that as I write this (a university could be getting its advert ready). This, without a doubt will need qualified lecturers to run especially the research and student needs-which is a quality education indicator. The need for research oriented professionals with not just a sand of information but also analytic and example-like academic giants remains an unquenchable thirst. Iam tryan say, this geek has a Permanent Head Damage (PhD), Preferred Higher Degree (PhD) depending on your life’s philosophy. Upon which the next boring paragraphs will focus on the life of a post graduate student seeking for a PhD in Uganda. No hard feelings:- just facts:
There’s no point in writing study concepts:
A post graduate concept paper is a must have when applying for a higher degree. In the concept paper, the student is trying to show an idea of what he/she intends to study. Very rarely have some universities paid attention to what really a student wants to study. For example, a certain University has no problem admitting a student to study a topic related to evaluation of injuries and disabilities or violence prevention when all their professors have studied evaluation of the impact of a certain poultry project in…. Seriously, a student will feel cheated. As a student (myself), I’d need a supervisor (I call them advisors because you cant really supervise me on what I want to do) with whom I can build even a career relationship. With due respect, I know that one can argue that they (studies) are all evaluations, but something needs a facelift. At the time of admitting such a student, you should have read clearly in their concepts, and looked around to see if you have a professional good enough to handle this field. It aint like a vaccine for death! A teacher of chemistry cant really mark the work of student of french! Your potential supervisor has a 110% chance of never doing anything in your field. Hard fact
Communication between the student and the university is one way
The academic registrar email contacts of many universities in developing countries never really work or should I say, they never really get checked. Everything is manual, from the point of handing in your academic documents to registration. Clearly, this means, if you are outside of the country for some reason during the admission times, you will miss out on the intake. Very few Universities have gripped the chance that we live in a global community. All communications from the University will come to your student email, but you will never get feedback from the sender for any inquiries. (Guarantee 89%). If you think Iam kidding, ask the lecturer’s email address, and you will find they’re personal emails they set while learning that ‘Introduction to computer applications course) way back in secondary school .
You wont see your supervisor until end of 1st year
Oh, yes…and here comes the most sexy part! As you might know, many courses at PhD level are offered by research, meaning, you must develop a proposal from your concept and finally a thesis. This can only happen with your supervisor (s). Very few universities have standard concept or proposal format. Don’t be very surprised, if your supervisor is the one giving you his former university’s. Plus, in the first year of graduate school, you’ve a good chance to meet your supervisor as meeting a pregnant guinea fowl. Despite your zillion emails and phone calls, there wont be any replies. Seems like 1st year is a freshman’s time to know the best pork joints around campus or something like that. Universities in developing countries must know that when a student finally gets his/her head to join, they’re on fire to finish as early as possible.
Your 3 year course is actually 4 years ,5 to be exact and 6 to be precise
Proudly, a certain University will state, graduation time to be after: between 3-6 years of your course. Now, if you are doing a 3 year course, the probability that you will finish within the 3 years’ period is (infinity) unless you’re doing your study from the university where possibly you were teaching in. There’re pretty much too much, tooooo much or possibly needed delays? Ofcourse, economically, its more rewarding to the University, because every year, you will be expected to pay tuition fees and other fees. So if you’d planned to pay tuition and functional fees for 3 years, the University doesn’t give a …., because you will be promptly given enough delays culminating into you paying for minimum 4 years. Again, that’s a syndrome of ‘African time’. Why shouldn’t you clearly state your quality standards from the beginning? Write in the admission letter for each student that this course shall be for 3 or 4 or 10 years after judging from their concept paper! Damn it!
Can you blame the advisors? (Supervisors)?
I don’t know:- and or Yes I know:
You cant pay a Professor or PhD Lecturer holder 650-100USD monthly and you want him/her to be around every day: 24/7 to do all the shit of the post grad students. There is something called rate of returns which such a guy needs to get to cover up the expenses he incurred while studying.
Most universities don’t really have the economic potential to conduct research. This is evident with the number of research dissemination of findings workshops done. Some universities have never held one! You don’t need to then ask if they have a journal. So, supervisors have to find a way of doing it on their own.
Its always easy to blame governments for anything ranging from, the shit on the roads to hospitals, etc: but 3/4 of Universities in for example Uganda are private: meaning, they generate their own resource envelope and allocate it the way they want according to their priorities. Research development and wellness of their staff and ofcourse students isnt anywhere close to that.
Half baked PhD students= Half baked Lecturers= Poor or No research agenda at University= No creativity and Innovation= Bullshit. Confounding factors are infinite
Kindly keep your comments specific: @BrianBilalK1
© Words used in this blog post are solely mine and don’t represent my current or future employers. The art in which such a blog post is written is to capture the readers attention while keeping the message. It’s also been written through my real life experience. The writter considers himself to be the #NextWHODirectorGeneral-Africa Region