Letter to the Editor

Name and shame politicians buying degrees

Dear editor,
IT IS often said that education is the key to success, but just what has happened to the education system?

At first it was the Teaching Council of Zambia which was caught red-handed over 700 teachers with fake academic qualifications and to some extent professional papers during the teacher registration exercise as well as the just ended teacher recruitment.
So far 100 teachers have been sacked and many more are yet to follow suit. Thereafter it was the General Nursing Council which nullified the nurses’ exams for over 100 trainee nurses as they wrote a leaked exam. Now, the Minister of Higher Education revealed that some politicians are buying degrees in the name of being called a doctor!
It is from this assertion by the minister that I have been compelled to write, asking him not to beat about the bush but point out the politicians involved, as well the universities, just like TCZ did by publishing names of teachers with fake documents in the daily tabloids.
An honorary degree is a gift given to an individual who has excelled in his/her field and has helped to uplift the lives of citizens. However, most recipients of such degrees are politicians, and this explains why some universities can sell them this prestigious paper. While many of us burn the midnight candle and pay through the nose, someone just walks into a university and buys a degree, which is unfair. Many Zambians who may not even be into politics have excelled in various fields and yet no university seems to recognise their work. Such citizens include, Kalusha Bwalya (Football), Costein Chilala (maize farmer), Maureen Nkandu (journalist) Malunga Christopher (Boxing) Chief Mumena [Fight against early marriage], Janny Sikazwe (refereeing), among others.
Can we have some decency in awarding these degrees? Former US President Barack Obama, former Zambian President Rupiah Banda and late Levy Mwanawasa were honoured with doctorate degrees by different universities, but they opted not to use Dr in front of their names as they had already earned their degrees. I am glad ZAQA has clarified that honorary degrees are not academic qualifications and must not be included in one’s CV. A degree must be earned and NOT bought.

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