By Alagi Yorro Jallow
The Gambia University is to award President Adama Barrow, an Honorary Degree by the university governing council and senate, the top-most academic and administrative organs of the university.
The Gambia university has a fully-fledged Honorary Awards Committee established by the Gambia university Statute on Honorary Awards Guidelines.
Another academic fraudster was the former President Yahya Jammeh and Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy “Dr.” Yahya Jammeh & Isatou Njie Saidy, whose “doctorate” was a honoris causa. They are therefore not entitled to use the prefix “Dr.” before their names. President Robert Mugabe, yes, the iron man of Zimbabwe has about seven real academic degrees, a few masters and numerous honorary degrees, yet he rarely uses the honorific.
Bill Gates is a recipient of an honorary award from Harvard. He suddenly did not become “Dr. Gates.” Other Gambians who have followed the path of “Dr.” Yahya Jammeh with religious zeal include “Dr.” Isatou Njie-Saidy and “Dr.” Adama Barrow. An honoris causa is not an academic qualification but an award for the “sake of honor.” President Barrow and the University should offer to withdraw and apologize conferring honorary doctorate to President Barrow who is less than One year in office.
The Gambia university may consider conferring an honorary degree upon any person who has excelled in any sector of life as it may deem fit on the recommendation of an Honorary Degrees Committee established jointly by the Senate and the University Council.
The honorary degree awards are in three categories: Doctor of Science (DSc.) for academic contribution in the field of science; Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) for contribution in the humanities; and Doctor of Laws (LL. D) for public service by eminent statesmen, administrators and lawyers. I don’t know which category of the award,President Barrow will be conferred with.
Over the years, the Gambia University has awarded to individuals honorary degrees for their contributions in various areas. The list has President Dr. Yahya Jammeh honored for his steadfast commitment to promotion of security, expansion of education, governance and contribution to education and politics. Others included former vice president Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy and hopefully the Gambia’s vice president too will be considered.
Research shows that eighty percent of the people that changes to the title of Dr upon receiving an honorary PHD are mainly those that have poor Academic background and never gone beyond certificate or diploma levels from well recognized institutions of higher learning.
The educated on the other hand never bother to use those titles for example President Barack Obama has 20+ honorary PhDs, President Mugabe has more than 10 and President Nelson Mandela had more than 50 but still have never heard or seen any of them proclaim those titles because they know and understand what it takes to get PHD.
Former President Rupiah Banda was given an honorary doctorate by Rusangu University, but he doesn’t call himself ‘Dr’. And that is the way it should be. Presidents, Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma have many honorary doctorates, but they don’t call themselves ‘Dr’. By convention, recipients of honorary doctorates do not use the title “Dr”
Universities honoring people with PHDs Should clearly refrain the recipient from using Dr before their names as this misleads many into thinking that the title is academically acquired when the opposite is true.
We must bring an end to this because it is now going to bring different thoughts in our children that you don’t need to work hard, you don’t need to go to school, you can simply be called a Dr. I think those of who hold those doctorates must feel ashamed of themselves. There are those who hold PhDs, they’ve had to spend something like ten years in university to get a PhD, how are they feeling knowing a politician can be conferred with a degree in a hotel room?
And I think for anybody who is being called a Doctor but did not work for it, let them hear me, let them feel shamed and drop the title of doctor and go back to school and work hard for it.