If the new proposal by the Ministry of Education is to go by, then university students will soon start leaving colleges with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The new proposal by the ministry chiefs proposes a dual degree program as part of changes to be implemented in the education sector.
The proposal dubbed “Matrix on the governance of public universities’ proposes the development of “a framework for dual degree and dual qualifications for priority program areas”.
The dual degree courses will enable students to integrate their undergraduate studies with masters before graduating with both degrees in a time frame of four and a half years.
The program will permit students to blend in two undergraduate programs or a master’s and a Ph.D.
According to the University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama, the proposal is welcome and noble.
This program will help students to graduates get advanced academic qualifications quicker compared to when they study two separate Bachelor’s (or Master’s) degrees.
“Double degrees usually take just one year longer than a single degree. In some institutions, they acquire both degrees in four and a half years,” Kiama said.
However, according to Constantine Wasonga, secretary-general of the University, and Academic Staff Union, the plan requires huge manpower resources.
Wasonga suggests proper attention be placed on the requirement of launching the program, which should be fully implemented.UoN Vice-Chancellor Prof Kiama.
“Remember universities are still caught in the loop of half-baked graduates, who are not ready for the job market,” Wasonga said.
“So we need huge research and investment if we are to talk about double-degree programs.”
He also questioned the ability of, in their current condition, to support dual degrees.
“We are still in a situation where the same lecturer teaching undergraduate students supervises Master’s fellows and sometimes Ph.D. scholars. This is already an overload. Now we are talking of dual degrees!” Wasonga said.
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Wasonga however acknowledged that such a plan could vital in addressing the shortage of academic staff in the public university.
Prof Kiama said that a major advantage that such a program has is saving money since the dual degree is typically faster than earning each degree individually.
According to him most dual degree programs, students can save at least one year.
With such kind of program, universities are required to help students to focus on only one coursework at a time. Meaning students cannot take both programs at the same time to obtain two academic credentials as quickly as possible