EDUCATION

Award PhDs on basis of work experience

A doctorate degree doesn't make one an intellectual, just a better intellectual.

In Summary

• Students will be taught by people with thorough practical field experience and will be ready for job market.

• It will meet demand for lecturers and reduce, if not eradicate, lecturers' strikes.

Graduates.
Graduates.
Image: FILE

About half of Kenya’s lecturers might soon lose their jobs for not possessing a doctorate degree. This is as a result of the new policy requiring all lecturers to be PhD holders.

Just recently Education CS George Magoha questioned the quality of PhDs awarded in Kenyan universities. However, does possessing a PhD make one an intellectual? An intellectual can be described as someone who loves knowledge and has the desire to seek it.

You do not have to go to school to be an intellectual. Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga agrees with this in his presentation titled 'The Metamorphosis of the Radical Intellectual'.

 

Possessing a doctorate can only make you a better intellectual. John Kiriamiti (My Life in Crime), for instance, remains more outstanding than many doctors and professors of literature, despite dropping out of high school. This is because of the contribution he has made in society through his works.

Ask any Kenyan to name an economist they know of and they will probably tell you Mwai Kibaki and David Ndii. These two have impacted society with their ideas and policies.

Many economics lecturers, despite possessing PhDs, are only known by the university fraternity, mostly their students, because that is the extent of their impact.

Ask any Kenyan to name an economist they know of and they will probably tell you Mwai Kibaki and David Ndii. These two have impacted society with their ideas and policies. Many economics lecturers, despite possessing PhDs, are only known by the university fraternity, mostly their students, because that is the extent of their impact.

Kenyan universities need to start awarding PhDs on the basis of work experience—to people who made good use of their education to amass extraordinary work experience and have made an impact in the larger society. These should then be allowed to become lecturers.

Numerous foreign universities do this. At the University of Glasgow in the UK, for example, one can get a PhD by publication. This approach will help fill the deficit of lecturers in our universities.

Concurrently, university students will be taught by people with thorough practical field experience. If a professor of business/commerce knew all the business or even a quarter of what his title suggests, then he would be too busy to teach.

He would use his knowledge to open business enterprises in various sectors and would be too busy running these enterprises and counting profits.

 

The Federation of Kenya Employers has often complained that our graduates are half baked. This policy will be an opportunity for some of these employers to acquire PhDs due to their work experience and lecture at the university. This will ensure that graduates are fully prepared for the job market.

Gone will be the days when job adverts will require one to have five years of work experience yet one has just graduated from university/college. Graduates would have acquired first-hand knowledge from employers turned lecturers.

With an increase in the number of PhD holders, UASU will think twice before threatening to strike over salary increase. We will have more qualified people with relevant and current field/work experience ready to take up the jobs for less pay.

Let us start awarding PhDs in our local universities on the basis of work experience. Those who acquire PhDs through this avenue should then be allowed to become lecturers.

This will meet the demand for lecturers. It will ensure that students graduate having acquired the relevant job skills which will give them direct entry into the job market. It will also reduce, if not eradicate, lecturers' strikes.

Economist and founder of The Bizconomist Journal

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