Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Supervising Graduate Students Enrolled in African Universities.
Bacwayo, K. E.
Oteyo, I. N.
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In a globalizing economy, education is key to competitiveness and economic growth. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is playing catch up in terms of investing in the human capital needed to participate effectively in the world economy. The Sub-Saharan region is currently engaged in what has been termed as a “catch-up” period as is reflected in rapid growth in investment in education at all levels, with an increased recognition over the last decade of the need for increased number of graduates at the tertiary level. This expansion has implications on the quality of training and research. Key among the factors that can help enhance quality is supervision. Currently, in many countries in SSA, graduate training and research is largely self-paid and students make significant sacrifices to obtain advanced degrees with the expectation that they would finish on time and secure lucrative careers. With this expectation, supervisors have an enormous task of ensuring quality mentoring. It is a privilege to hold a faculty position and supervise students; nonetheless, this comes with a great responsibility associated with great expectations from the students. The expectations are targeted to supervisors and the institutions of learning. Although there is still an imbalance on power relationships between supervisors and students, especially in developing countries, supervisors still need to understand and know the student expectations. This way, they can build professionally and healthy long lasting relationships than can spread beyond the supervision period. This paper discusses the issue of supervision, with a focus on different approaches to delivering quality supervision, students’ needs and expectations, and how these can be addressed based on authors’ experiences working at universities from a developing country perspective.