The increasing number of PhD holders is a cause of concern. In Uganda, one of the causes of the problems seems to stem from the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) standard capacity indicators of a good higher institution of learning. To get better rankings, universities with most PhD holders as lecturers seem to be given more respect, regardless of the quality of the people holding the degrees. As explained by Prof. A. B. Kasozi, in today’s New Vision (April 2nd, 2014) page 19, “in Uganda, PhD holders in 2011 were only 914 (15%) out of a staff of 6,174 in Uganda’s university sub-sector in 2011. This figure was far below the 60% required by National Council for Higher Education.”
Prof. A. B. Kasozi, the former executive director of National Council for Higher Education of Uganda agrees with me that a good PhD holder must add something new to the body of knowledge. Quoting Damtew Teferra, he says “building PhD programmes is not simply to encourage intellectual curiosity, but to address a critical aspect of national development.’ And he is right.
On 27th March 2014, I made the following post on my LinkedIn wall,
Many PhD holders have NOT added anything new to the body of knowledge. That’s why you shouldn’t do one UNTIL you are ready to add something new.
The response was overwhelming; with many people opting to email and or phone me directly about the same.
This led to this post on my website. I am happy to be part of this debate. We need to study to make a difference not for validation and mere recognition.
Gone are the days when a PhD was respected highly due to the known academic rigour of the qualification. To day, there are several on-line PhD awarding institutions that are more interested in making money than educating awardees. As long as you can afford the fees, you will get a PhD in record time. As Prof. A. B. Kasozi points out, “there are very many foreign rogue and fly-by-night institutions that give dubious PhD degrees.” This is a cause of concern.
You don’t have to inform people that you have a PhD. They should be able to see your successes, publications, new approaches to old problems, etc to respect you as a holder of a PhD. That is why businessmen who get a honorary PhD are moe deserving than folks who pay money to get a paper in order to remain illiterate.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, CFE 2014. All rights reserved.