There are only three acceptable ways through which one can be called ‘Dr’. One, through studying medicine; two, through triumphing a doctorate class after three to four years of study; and, lastly, being honored by a reputable university for immense personal achievements.
So you can be Dr Adamson Muula because you have a medical degree; Dr Danwood Mzikenge Chirwa because, after your master’s degree, you enrolled for a doctorate degree and triumphed; Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima because after a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College he successfully defending his doctorate degree with the University of Bolton in the United Kingdom (UK), Dr Ethel Kamwendo Banda her music contribution or Dr Bakili Muluzi for outstanding work of championing and entrenching democracy.
So, if you call yourself a ‘Dr’ and you can hardly explain where, among the aforementioned three variables, you fit then you are fraud—you must be arrested.
In fact, the debate that Professor Chirwa started on social media principally aims at exposing and shaming people who cannot, convincingly and honestly, explain how their salutation changed from ‘Mr’ to ‘Dr’.
I do, of course, understand the merits of this debate. There has been an escalation of wayward colleges that are, actually, selling PhDs to those that salivate for them. These are colleges that turn people, in a flash, from being saluted as ‘Mr’ in the morning to ‘Dr’ in the afternoon.
However, in the raging debate of naming and shaming the riffraff that stagger around with bought PhDs, I have noted a condescending mistake coming from overzealous quarters extending their condemnation even to people with honorary doctorate degrees.
Let’s face it; there is always a possessive feeling among academics in these reputable universities to own and protect PhDs as if it only belongs to them.
Of course, you can always understand them because their PhDs are products of years of exhausting research work and study.
However, I believe they can defend the integrity of their hard-won PhDs without suppressing the undeniable truth that one can also get a PhD through honorary means.
Honorary doctorate degrees are real and they should not be trivialized and suppressed. In fact, most people who earn honorary doctorate degrees do more to society than those with so called hard-won degrees.
That is why; in naming and shaming those who stagger around with bought PhDs – such as ‘Professor’ Getrude Mutharika, ‘Dr’ Jean Mathana, ‘Dr’ Ben Phiri, ‘Dr’ Ken Zikhale N’goma – we should sober up and accept that honorary degrees are not fake.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :