Phony Doctorates – Abuse of Honorary Awards

The ultimate abuse of honorary awards

Lately there have been interesting but shameful reports on the generous awards of doctorates by a university in the United States of America. This resulted in condemnation from local and international scholars. Unfortunately, this hoax has been targeting innocent (innocent?) who may not be aware of the rigour with which PhD is acquired.

University degrees are not bought, just as you cannot purchase someone’s sharp brains. Degree is earned through sheer hard work. Apparently, Kenyan’s desire for higher degrees has become common and unstoppable, with the culture of impunity which has affected the country. Everyone knows that to be called a doctor or a professor has its own procedure.

Here is what happens in all credible institutions of higher learning worldwide:

Registered universities in various countries award Bachelors and Masters Degrees, as well as doctorates depending on their mission.

To be registered to pursue PhD in a Kenyan university, one must have a first degree, a second degree or equivalent and must present a researchable proposal to a panel of scholars.

This is a straight forward method of attaining a PhD. Several years are spent on research presentations and publications. It can take anywhere from three to ten years if one does not fail midway.

Some people get fatigued and quit or their supervisors give up on them. Those who make it are awarded the degree in a formal congregation of the particular university. The award is given in public by the chancellor. Senates or equivalent bodies recommend such awards and not individuals.

What is an honorary degree? It is basically an award to appreciate the exemplary work that an individual has performed for the nation and globally. The recipient must have contributed to the advancement of learning, humanities, science or a major breakthrough unique to himself or herself.

On awarding such honours, it is the senate sub-committee which vets the recipient. No individual can walk to the graduation congregation and announce an award without thorough vetting and approved “citation” of the recipient.

Universities are gauged by the quality of graduates they produce and research conducted. They are also judged by the frequency and quality of honorary degrees they dish out at one congregation.

The academic world is mean and conservative. Scholars the world over protect their titles. Any abuse to these titles is to be abhorred.

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