Determinants of Completion Time among Regular Postgraduate Students in School of Education Kenyatta University, Kenya
Muthiani, Alice Kanini
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Every level of an educational programme needs to be completed within the specified time. For master’s regular program, the specified time is 3 years and doctor of philosophy has specified time of 4 years. However it has been noted that postgraduate students overstay in universities. This study purposed to examine the extent in which research skills, supervisory and institutional factors determine completion time among regular postgraduate students in the School of Education, Kenyatta University (KU). The study was anchored on Field theory which argues that individual behavior can be understood by soliciting the totality and complexity of the environment in which behavior takes place. Survey design was employed and the study was conducted in school of education, KU. Target population for this study was 1,042 respondents. Thirty four of this population were members of the School Board of Postgraduate Studies (SBPS), 309 PhD students and 669 masters’ students. Thirty percent of the total population made sample size. Sample size for this study was eleven SBPS members, ninety two PhD students and 209 master’s students adding up to 312 respondents. This study employed systematic and simple random sampling. Questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data for this study. Pilot study was done in Education Management, policy and Curriculum Studies department in the School of Education KU. Content validityca and face validity of the instruments were established through data triangulation, use of a checklist and judgment and opinions from experts in Educational Research, Evaluation and Assessment. Items reliability was determined using Cronbach alpha correlation coefficient. Data collection tools yielded a correlation coefficient of 0.89 therefore considered appropriate. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analyzing data. This study found that research skills determine completion time for postgraduate. When research skills for PhD and masters are compared, research skills for masters’ students have greater determination of completion time as compared to those of PhDs. Supervision determines completion time with greater determination for PhD students. Institutional factors have statistical significant determination on completion but when compared with other factors, it has the least determination. Study recommendations are: research unit be introduced at undergraduate level as a common unit for all undergraduates, research unit course be re-organized, time for proposal approvals and thesis examination be reduced to a period of at most one month, E-Supervision should be mandatory and supervisory package be increased. A similar study can be done to part time students; other schools in KU; or with completed students. The study results have unearthed challenges facing postgraduate students and hence may benefit the education postgraduate students, school of education teaching personnel and lastly Kenyatta university fraternity in making informed measures or solutions to ensure timely completion of postgraduate studies.