PhD directive: Doctors to embark on strike, fault NUC boss

National Universities Commission NUC
National Universities Commission NUC

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria ( MDCAN), on Sunday, said the position of the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), over possession of PhD certificate as prerequisite for lecturing in medical colleges is falsehood and intended to deceive the general public.

Prof. Kenneth Ozoilo, MDCAN’s National President was reacting during a press briefing in Jos, to a statement published in a national newspaper of February 19, 2020, credited to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who was reported to have denied prescribing PhD certificate as a requirement for lecturing in medical colleges, a claim that was described as “outright lie aimed at advancing commission’s vested position.”

The group had on February 14 threatened to embark on nationwide strike beginning from today, February 24 if NUC didn’t withdraw the circular.

The crisis between NUC and MDCAN deepens less than 24 hours to expiration of the ultimatum issued to NUC by MDCAN to withdraw its position on the circular sent to all University Vice Chancellors and Registrar, National Postgraduate Medical College directing them not to recognise doctors as lecturers without PhD certificate, a decision that was severally faulted by the MDCAN.

The group also said the executive secretary of the commission lied to have said PhD was just a desirable but not necessary for progression in medical education because citing page 1 of the commission’s circular: NUC/ES/138/VOL.63/52 of 24th December 2019 that PhD is for “Career progression especially for those in the academia” asking that “who is fooling who?”

MDCAN explained that there was no wisdom in the NUC’s circular to say “for candidates with full fellowships of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), the West African College of Physicians (WACP) or the West African College of Surgeons (WACS), their course work shall be waived but shall be required to submit and defend a thesis for graduation in 24 months” adding that “If full fellows (including professors of medicine) require PhD, to what rank will they be promoted?”

MDCAN, however said, though PhD certificate was relevant and deserved in the academia but shouldn’t be enforced to satisfy the whims and caprices of policy makers who poorly appreciate the peculiarities and challenges of medical education in Nigeria.

The doctors further stated that “There is no basis for the comparison between fellowship and the PhD. It is an established fact that the curriculum content of the fellowship far outstrips that of the PhD” adding “While PhD is a predominantly academic pursuit, the fellowship is both academic and professional, and as of today, is the minimum qualification required to practice as a specialist, and to teach medicine worldwide.”

The doctors subsequently declared that, “Come midnight February 24th 2020, we shall withdraw our services from medical education in Nigeria and focus our energies on caring for our patients. We wish the NUC and the universities good luck in finding the doctors with PhDs to man their medical schools.”

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