NUC discloses reasons Nigeria produces poor PhD holders, proffers solutions

*The National Universities Commission expresses disappointment at what it has described as ‘meddlesome interlopers’ in academic disciplines which they are not competent, making PhD students ‘victims of interminable doctoral programmes’ and frustration

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Expressing disappointment at what it described “meddlesome interlopers” in certain instances, the Federal Government has expressed concern over the poor quality of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) researches Nigerian universities conduct, and huge copyright infringement,

The Nigerian Government, which attributed this development to some avoidable factors Wednesday, September 29, 2021, noted with disappointment what it called “meddlesome interlopers” in academic disciplines which they are not competent, thereby making PhD students “victims of interminable doctoral programmes” and frustration in the system.

Malam Adamu Adamu, Honourable Minister for Education

Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), represented by Dr. Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, Deputy ES (Academics) at the NUC, disclosed these in his keynote address at the inauguration of the Doctoral Academy of Nigeria and training workshop on PhD research supervision, The Punch report said.

ConsumerConnect reports the NUC is a government commission promoting quality higher education in the country.

The commission was established in 1962 as an advisory agency in the Cabinet Office, and it is currently located in Abuja, FCT.

It was learnt the Committee of Provosts and Deans of Postgraduate Colleges and Schools in Nigerian Universities organised the workshop with the theme, “Enhancing The Capacities Of Doctoral Supervisors For Research Supervision”.

The NUC Chief stated, that being a Professor does not mean that the person can supervise very well, report said.

Prof. Rasheed was quoted to have said: “A litany of problems have been identified, ranging from poor quality of doctoral theses occasioned by the fact that a lot of the PhD theses were sponsored by staff who themselves are underpaid.

“We wonder how somebody who is not well paid will use part of his salary while his wife watches him to go and do PhD research.

“That was found as one of the major problems. One big elephant in the room is the issue of supervisors.”

He further stated: “In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, there is an assumption which has proven to be wrong – Because somebody is a Professor does not mean that he can supervise very well.

“We have issues of people who may be described as meddlesome interlopers in fields they are not competent to supervise.

“So, when you find such supervisors, students are victims of interminable doctoral programmes.

“You spend one year searching for a topic because the Professor is not grounded in the field and is not humble enough to say he does not understand the methodology because he doesn’t have time to read it before.

“So all of these problems lead to frustration and at the end, the product or quality of the school is not what it should be.

“And of course, if you put this against the backdrop of the critical role which doctoral research is expected to play in terms of innovation, creating new relevant knowledge by generating knowledge that is marketable for goods and services converted to goods and services.”

The NUC said that “all of these have an effect in terms of establishing of nexus between doctoral training and national development as a whole.

“For us at the NUC, this step being taken by the committee is long in coming and it is very important because we hope that this will be the beginning of disaggregating the issues and challenges of post-doctoral education in Nigeria, doctoral supervision in terms of the timeliness, quality, and relevance of research projects.”

The Executive Secretary added: “Of course, we are in the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, which is leading in terms of dealing with the issue of plagiarism.

“So, in most of the theses these days, if you check, there is a huge problem of copyright infringement.

“We are very hopeful that with this committee in place, we expect better output in terms of postgraduate and post-doctoral thesis, greater output in terms of quality of relevant research findings that are good entrepreneurs and impact on national development.”

Considering curriculum content review and development

Rasheed also said in order to avoid “this transfer of obsolescence and outdated ideas, both the teachers and the students will continue to engage in constantly moving the frontiers of knowledge.

“It is on this note that we want to wish you well and to assure the NUC is solidly behind you in terms of taking this initiative forward and we are looking forward to a very tangible output.”

Prof. Ekanem Braide, President of Nigerian Academy of Science, in her goodwill message, said the Nigerian Government has declared many times that it is working to diversify the economy and move away from overdependence on oil.

Braide, however noted that “what is yet to be seen is our effort at increasing our research capacity as an unavoidable requirement for achieving such diversification.”

She recommended improvement on the number and quality of PhD supervisors, the report stated.

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