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Monday, May 25, 2020

Growing trend of Zambians buying degrees online – Prof Luo

General News Growing trend of Zambians buying degrees online - Prof Luo

Gender Minsister Nkandu Luo during the UNZA Celebrations
Nkandu Luo

An increasing number of Zambians, including some politicians are taking the short cut of paying for academic achievements like doctorates and professorships and insisting they be addressed as such, Parliament heard yesterday.

Higher Education Minister Nkandu Luo said honorary degrees were not recognised anywhere in the world as qualification, but were seen as an honour to somebody who had excelled in a particular area.

“In my opinion, these are just money-making ventures because they have observed that in Zambia there are people who love titles which they have not worked for,” Prof Luo said in a ministerial statement on honorary degrees and professorship.

Prof Luo said the ministry had even received reports of some individuals in the country receiving letters to pay and attend workshop and be awarded afterwards, but have rather opted to work and study for their doctorate.

Professor Luo said honorary degrees were not given because an individual had followed a particular programme of study with defined learning outcomes or set standards, but only due to an assessment of an outstanding achievement.

She said in the absence of clearly-defined achievements an honorary degree could not be designated as a qualification, merely as an honour and should appear as such on curriculum vitae.

She informed the House yesterday that Government was disappointed with such a growing trend of individuals even going to an extent of paying to be awarded.
She cited trending advertorial on Internet asking people to pay as much as US$1,500 for them to be awarded honorary degrees, and most recently letters were sent to some individuals to pay $5,000 and an invitation to attend a two-day workshop and be awarded the tiles.

She said given that Zambia Qualifications Framework was a portfolio of qualifications, honorary degrees did not qualify to be registered and accredited on the Framework.

In this regard, the minister said honorary degrees would not be recognised by the Zambia Qualifications Framework.Consequently, they would not be placed on any level of the Zambia Qualification Framework.

Prof Luo was hopeful that the statement would bring to an end what she described as an epidemic of honorary degrees and urged people to work hard and obtain degrees after hard work.

“To the politicians, let me tell you that there are many world leaders such as President (Barack) Obama who were conferred with many honorary doctorates but chose not to use such titles as they were only honorary. That is called integrity. The secret is to work hard, to remain focused and committed to your studies,” she said.

On professorship, Prof Luo said the title was not given, but earned and, most importantly, professors were respected worldwide and it was conferred when one met a set criterion for the rank.

In a follow-up question, UPND Kabompo Member of Parliament (MP) Ambrose Lufuma, who started by saying he was about to be awarded a honorary degree, triggered laughter in the House, as he sought clarity on what punitive measures the Government was enforcing to bring sanity.Prof Luo said the ministry was reviewing the Higher Education Act and strengthening the law to deal with honorary degrees.

In response to UPND Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo, on why she brought such a statement instead of addressing other pertinent matters affecting the country, the minister said Zambia was likely to lose its education status if individuals were left to obtain titles they did not deserve.

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    • Divide mine is REAL

      Here the thing – 20 years ago a degree mean something of substance and including a Masters

      Nowadays these are NOTHING

      Unless you have a PhD you are NOTHING of substance
      I had 29 points and accepted at UNZa natural sciences and refused to go because the standards are low nd I wouldn’t necessarily want to be taught by a black person.
      I remember when I was in grade 5, because i was this much intelligent I was asked to go to grade 7, where I for 689 which was the highest at the time in the coperbelt

      Folks, I am not showwing off, but I got 29 points in grade 12 and easily passed to go to grade 10 (388 points) and thus I consider myself the educated one

      I have gone on to be doing my PhD?

      Good luck to them all, but remember I did hold the torch once,…

    • Good luck to them all, but remember I did hold the torch once, and led the way. Who ever is holding the torch

      I have a PhD NOW



    • Professor Luo,
      What’s your problem? We are not stealing these degrees…….we are buying them with our own hard earned money.

    • You can only be proud of a degree after hard work. Honorary is better than buying because you are hounored for contribution to humanity.

    • @Mushota I’m sure you an intelligent person but 29 points in grade 12 was considered a fail. You see having an “A ” (85% +) in grade 12 earns you 1 point.So if you get 6 points you basically got A’s in the 6 core subjects.. To have 29 points means you almost had an average of 5 points per subject.That would equate to around 40% in each course. For the record I had 8 points in grade 12 but it doesn’t mean anything.I am not defined by my academic achievements.

    • MUSHOTA,
      having told us, once again, about your brilliant performance in primary and sec. school (forgetting all about the kindergarten), you write that you refused to go to UNZA “because the standards are low and I wouldn’t necessarily want to be taught by a black person”.

      So you still don’t dare to tell us WHERE you actually got your PhD? Or are you one of those Prof. Luo was talking about?

      You are the most shameless person I ever came across – thank God, not physically; your hair probably are fake too.
      Why don’t you just leave us alone on Lusaka Times? – Please, give heed to my Christmas wish!

    • Well it’s easy. If someone claims they have a degree, ask them to produce their school transcript from the college or university they claim to have graduated. And a law should be passed which says: No degree will be recognized as a qualification for a position, unless it’s accompanied by a transcript from the given college or university. Otherwise, the country will be full of pretentious, uneducated people claiming to be university graduates, when they’re not. And that’ll spell disaster for our country. We don’t want empty headed, ignoramus individuals running our country.

  1. Mama – … Go after them like you have done with the teachers and when you clean up!

    When you are done cleaning up! Pass a law to criminalise or overlook those qualifications

  2. They are not achievement degrees in a particular field of research. But it is right to say that some people have achieved tremendous results outside academia and should be honoured as such. The only degrees that are fake are to ones you have to buy or pay money to receive. That should be a crime in itself. But if you have worked for the development and uplifting of humanity for a considerable amount of time, I don’t see anything wrong with a School of Public Affairs at a University to honor your work outside of academic work.

    • Yes, of course yes and you don’t use the title if you have any substance like Obama or Mugabe who despite genuinely earning more than eight degrees in different fields of study would still not use the academic title. Prof says it’s called INTEGRITY. hullo!

    • Lombe (MA),

      The point is that any intelligent person with integrity never uses an honorary doctorate as a title before his name even if obtained from prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, etc. Nelson Mandela had more than ten honorary doctorates from prestigious and reputable universities but never insisted on being addressed as Dr. Mandela. In contrast, Chishimba Kambwili , as Minister of Information, got a dubious honorary doctorate from a non-existent university and immediately held a press conference at which he warned anyone who would address him as Mr. Kambwili with dire consequences. Is there any integrity in such behavior?

  3. This is the only time Mushota could be telling us the truth in terms of her academic achievements. The marks fit the profile that she has so far potrayed. 29 points would not get you a place in the school of natural sciences at UNZA unless you completed school in the 70s. Nowadays even 18 points may not get you a place at UNZA in NS. For grade 8, Mpelembe Secondary in the Coperbelt require 800 to get you a place in grade eight. For grade 10 you will need more that 488 to stay at Mpelembe Secondary. In Lusaka David Kaunda and Kasisi girls would require similar standards.

    Mushota your marks fall far short of these standards. Very average marks. Maybe that is why you need a PhD to compensate. Unless one wants university tenure a masters is all one needs to make life work for one. You…

    • @Mushota, yaba let the truth be told now. ati Koswe Mumpoto, you see now you can fool some people some times but you can not fool everybody all the time. Now you are talking, no wonder nobody knows where you got your Phd. Phd my foot. Get a life. Who has a Phd and always blogging unless you have a Phd in blogging because if you do have you should be somewhere busy doing something.

  4. The only valid point in the story is Hon. Nkombo asking why Hon. Luo is commenting on this issue now in the light of police brutality on CBU students. Surely at this moment addressing police brutality and the cause of students rioting is more important than talking about honorary degrees.
    Who cares about these degrees anyway, Zambia has more important issues in terms of education and the current state of schools than these fake degrees that no one even recognises. Such petty issues being discussed in Parliament…mediocre lot.

  5. @Returning citizen well spoken. We have a lot of pressing issues at hand than those fake degrees. Yesterday Lusaka town center was flooded with water after heavy rains. Kulima Tower bus station water was reaching knee level covering the whole station. The situation was so bad.

  6. University degrees are good investment. They develop knowledge and build professional skills. They bring prestige and self esteem. Pursuit of education must be encouraged. In some cases, university professors may also hold honorary degrees. However, different criteria for honorary degrees and study degrees need to be maintained. The distinction between the two systems is necessary to avoid confusion, misunderstanding or misinformation.

  7. It may also help to mention that the Professor title means somebody is teaching or conducting research at an academic institution. That is why highly acclaimed intellectuals at National Labs like Sandia or NIST are not called Professors.

  8. I Personally do agree with the minister, the west is confusing people who don’t want to study more especially Africans. don’t be deceived go to school study, pass and be called Dr., i did not recognize Dr. Khamuzi Banda, Dr. FtJ Chiluba, Dr. D.K Kaunda, Dr. L Mwanawasa, Dr Kambwili, Dr. GBM Mwamba. I do recognize Mr.Micheal C Sata, Mr.Edgar Lungu, Mr.Hakainde Hicilema, Mr. barak Obama, Mr.Nelson Mandela and professor Luo.

    • Dr. Kamuzhu Banda was actually a qualified medical doctor. He earned his degree and actually practised medicine in England. In addition he had degrees in the social sciences as well. He deserved to be recognised as such. You are right on the others.

  9. This the reason why all local and foreign qualifications need to be evaluated before one is given or consider for appointment. Who does not want a PhD? Geofrey, Chishimba, Sekwila name them they all want PhDs if they can lay their hands on the one being sold they will surely pay for it. The Gullible media also gives credence to this crap by flashing these bought titles on those title hungry souls who have had the audacity to BUY these (honorary) so called degrees.

  10. Ok Koma bane this woman is ugly with all due respect but awe. I know beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but ok yeve iyi iliko rather.

  11. Why all this gas about this or that degree; whether so-called earned or honoury? By the way, all degrees, are bought; one can pay for them either over, say, a 4 year period of residence at a university, or online, or honoury, and so on and so forth. Most universities now even award degrees based on one’s life and work learning experience; which is more powerful than book education and meaningless research undertaken by many of these so-called professors, like…? The most important and basic degree is the undergraduate degree. All the other degrees after that are just ‘much ado about nothing’! One can conduct a research/study on a fly, just a fly, (and talk mountains about that) and become a doctor/professor, proudly posting themselves as having contributed to original knowledge…

  12. Nonsense!!! Anyway, why should this professor be so animated about how others obtained their qualifications? Is she the summun bonum of knowledge?

  13. Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people recently gave a profound and timely warning to government – be sincere with Zambians in pronouncements. Please don’t brush this aside as usual, the paramount chief knows what he is talking about. Government will regret this attitude soon. .
    These include Hon Ronald Chitotela always lying that contractors on housing and infrastructure projects have been paid yet projects in many places sit abandoned for non payments. Hon, Dora Siliya with failure to pay farmers and the FISP mess, always sweet talking empty promises. Prof Nkandu Luo has failed to banish numerous sub standard universities, colleges and qualifications, yet always keeps yapping about and promising. Small wonder Zambian standards continue to be poor.

  14. But what Prof is saying is the beginning and needs our support. All development is anchored on sound education. If you compromise education all else
    collapses. She is saying if you have an honorary degree, well and good because it is recognition of your good contribution to humanity. BUT don’t be addressed by such titles. What is wrong with such?

  15. This trend is making Zambians to be lazy in academic circles. Surely you become even proud to be called doctor or professor when in actual fact you have only a low grade certificate!!! Let us be serious. No sweet without sweat and no credible academic qualification can be gotten without tireless effort that even limit ones time to go to bed. Dr…….. or Professor……..!!!!!!

  16. simple how can someone who has not even passed grade 12…..have a Phd only in Zambia! its just like when i met Prof. Nkandu Luo the first thing she told everyone she had a real Phd and has done various publications and worked in many foreign hospitals so she was quick separate herself from the imposters

  17. A human regardless of how read can only utilize one hundredth of one percent of the brain capacity. This fact should humble those running around boasting of academic qualifications, especially honorary ones. Let’s all get busy with what our hands are best at doing rather than worry about academic copy cats. Qualifications work best with innovation, integrity and hard work. Ask Bill Gates

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