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The Faculty of Education at the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is hosting its biannual Master’s and Doctorates week (MADOC).

Unpacking how the programme started, Deputy Dean: Research and Innovation Professor Bongani Gamede said, “The programme started in the year 2017 as a departmental programme where members of the department capacitate one another. The faculty adopted the programme, and it was rolled over to the whole faculty in year 2019. This year, we have students from several provinces such as Gauteng, Limpopo, Eastern Cape. There are also students from the Kingdom of Eswatini.”

MADOC is custom-made for student capacity building on research matters such as academic writing, the crafting of an acceptable proposal as well as the importance of literature review and a researcher’s voice in the study. Issues of methodology are also covered during this period. Students are also taught how to write for publication as well as how to harvest from their studies.

Since the launch of the programme, the faculty has seen tremendous increase in research output as supervisors have started to write and publish articles with their students.

Prof Azwidohwi Kutame, one of the organisers, said the perception is that MADOC should continue to grow and support postgraduate students in all faculties. The spotlight of the first day was to unpack the aim of the workshop.  “Participation during presentations suggests that students are benefiting from the workshop. The presentations indicate that proposals will be presented at a standard required for students to be awarded permission to collect data from sampled participants,” said Prof Kutame.

One of the presenters was Prof Raj Mestry from the University of Johannesburg. Focusing on qualitative research, Prof Mestry highlighted the various methods of  approaching research, speaking about the ways of collecting data, the issue of data designs and data analysis.

The dean of the faculty, Prof Sithabile Ntombela, said she was thrilled about this initiative to support postgraduate students, which takes place in June/July and in December every year. “It is proper to first appreciate colleagues who work hard to put the programme together as well as those who participate in diverse ways to make these support sessions a success. Special thanks go to colleagues from other institutions who willingly share their expertise with our staff and students. The week would also not be complete without the support from our ICT, Library and the Research Office colleagues who are highly visible during these sessions,” a grateful Prof Ntombela said.

The Dean also emphasised that students come in numbers to attend MADOC week, some even from neighbouring countries. This is their time to engage staff and their supervisors face-to-face. “It is also time to network with other students. Master’s and doctoral work is often lonely as you work alone on those chapters and on generating data but MADOC provides an opportunity to discuss your work with others. I hope students are enjoying the presentations and are learning different ways of skinning the research cat. May I take this opportunity to wish the students travel mercies when they return home. I also wish them peace and joy over the festive season, and a prosperous 2023,” Prof Ntombela concluded.

  • Precious Shamase

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