Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Dr. Field Ruwe Addresses Accusations of Malicious Intent by the University of Zambia 

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To: The Chancellor of The University of Zambia and all Readers 

 

I am writing to respond to the University of Zambia’s press statement issued by the Acting Head of Communication and Marketing Damaseke Chibale as a rejoinder to my article titled “University of Zambia Degrees are Inferior Says UK Home Office” that appeared in the Lusaka Times of March 6, 2024. Applying the kill the messenger fallacy, Chibale accuses me of spreading malicious information aimed at undermining the credibility of the University of Zambia.  

 

What I sincerely perceived as a contribution to sharing knowledge critical in making institutional changes required for the enhancement of the University of Zambia to meet the needs of global competition and the knowledge economy has been misconstrued as a malicious motive aimed at tarnishing the image of the University of Zambia. Contrarily, the impression portrayed of me by Chibale does not conform to my character and qualifications as a scholar and multicultural researcher. 

As a media and scholar practitioner, I have authored a plethora of articles for newspapers in both the United States and Zambia [refer to my Wikipedia page]. Prior to composing the article in question, I diligently conducted extensive research, just as I have done for all the articles you may have come across. I have consistently prioritized truth, accuracy, and objectivity, recognizing them as the fundamental principles of journalistic ethics. The verification of sources has been an integral part of my work, as it is a crucial discipline within the realm of research and journalism. Not once have I been accused of malicious intent. 

  

The motivation for my article stemmed from a scholarly publication titled “Crisis? What Crisis? Malawian Degrees and International Comparability” authored by Dr. Yonah Matemba of the University of Scotland. Dr. Matemba, who holds a PhD, FHEAA, and FRSA, is a distinguished educator, researcher, and authority in the field of Social Sciences. Additionally, he serves as a Board Member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership.  

 

On page 3 of his article, Dr. Mutemba writes: “UK NARIC carries out regular, planned and periodic reviews of all of its databases, within which information is available for 208 countries. Based on NARIC’s evaluation, in broad terms, Malawian degrees are downgraded to a grade 3 lower in comparison with similar British qualifications (Zambian degrees are also downgraded and evaluated in a similar predicament while those from Zimbabwe or Tanzania, for example, meet NARIC’s standards).”   

  

Dr. Matemba further notes that based on UK NARIC’s evaluation, Malawian and Zambian degrees are assessed as follows: Bachelor’s degrees are comparable to British two-year Higher National Diploma (HND); Bachelor’s degrees in professional subjects such as engineering, law, medicine and veterinary science are comparable to three-year British Bachelor Ordinary Degree standard; Masters degrees are comparable to British four-year Bachelor Degree Honors. In England, a Bachelor (Honours) Degree is generally a prerequisite for admission to a master’s program. An applicant from the University of Zambia is deemed ineligible due to the perceived UK NARIC evaluation, whereas individuals from Zimbabwe or Tanzania are enrolled.   

According to the “Guide to Qualifications-Prospects ac.uk of May 2020, UK Higher National Diploma (HND) is a mostly vocational academic higher education qualification whose attainment level is roughly equivalent to the second year of a 3-year English degree or Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). In other words, it is a degree inferior to the UK Bachelor’s Degree.   

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refers to degrees like HND and DipHE as “low value degrees” that do not produce a graduate that supports the economy (see https://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/jul/14/rishi-sunak-force-english-universities-cap-low-value-degrees). Synonyms of “low value” include “inferior” and “worthless.”

It is evident from the credible sources mentioned above that the assertion regarding the inferiority of the University of Zambia degrees is not made by me, but rather by the British Government which oversees the UK Home Office.  

In his press release, Chibale avoids altogether to address the UK NARIC on Zambia and help answer questions students may be asking—is it true what Field Ruwe is alleging regarding NARIC? Is the university aware of the UK NARIC evaluation? If so, for how long has the university known and what steps has the Chancellor taken to address the issue? Why are some African countries rated better than Zambia? Why is the British High Commissioner to Zambia quiet over this matter? What measures should UNZA management implement to meet the standards set by UK NARIC?  

  

Instead, Chibale employs the term “malicious” as a diversionary maneuver to unjustly shift the burden of proof in a style resembling the “poisoning the well fallacy.” This occurs when negative information about a target is preemptively presented to an audience, with the intention of discrediting or ridiculing what the target person has said, without addressing the actual bone of contention. The contention at the heart of my article is the UK NARIC evaluation of the University of Zambia. It raises questions the British government should address.  

 

It is important for Chibale and individuals referencing the top 50 universities to justify the exclusion of the HPI visa to understand that, even if the Home Office were to remove restrictions and open the program to all countries worldwide, the University of Zambia would remain ineligible due to its current UK NARIC and world ranking status. That is why I specifically singled out the University of Zambia from the rest of the African countries.  

 

In his press statement, Chibale takes pride in show-casing the University of Zambia rankings of No. 1201-1500 in the world out of 2,671 and No. 14 out of 25 universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such ranking numbers are subpar and are the reason the UK NARIC is at diploma level. To improve the numbers, UNZA students need a truly world class curriculum rooted in its locality and context that meets their needs. 

 

It is true that UNZA graduates have been admitted to pursue Masters Degrees in both South Africa and the UK, as Chibale claims. However, this represents only a small fraction of the total number of graduates produced by the university annually. Attaining a Rhodes or Commonwealth scholarship is often perceived as a challenging endeavor for many individuals, while self-sponsorship is typically viewed as a luxury reserved for the affluent. Those who cannot afford are compelled to take entrance exams that many are hesitant to attempt or ultimately do not pass, resulting in them resorting to lower-status alternative employment opportunities. 

 

Certainly, students from the University of Zambia (UNZA) demonstrate high levels of excellence and potential as their academic counterparts in any part of the world. I deeply respect and admire every student who is presently enrolled at UNZA, as well as those who have successfully graduated from the institution since its establishment. Believe me, I am cognizant of the amount of effort required to eventually ascend the podium and gladly descend with degree in hand. They all deserve better treatment when they apply for jobs at home and abroad.   

  

Let me conclude by saying that the past days have been the most excruciating of my entire life. I have spent my life building and nurturing my reputation. I am respected in any community in which I have settled. In the academic community I have become a source of reference. I am a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Society, and the Phi Alpha Theta, an American honor society for undergraduate and graduates students and professors of history.

At California State University, Fresno, I was conferred membership in Kappa Tau Alpha‘s National Honor Society in Journalism and Mass Communication. In 2006, I became a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, an organization that recognizes college students solely on the basis of their academic achievements. Well known honorary members include US President Bill Clinton, General Colin Powell, Astronaut John Glenn and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In all the universities I have attended I have emerged as a notable alumni –  Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts – https://www.ranker.com/list/famous-northeastern-university-alumni-and-students/reference 

Suffolk University, Boston Massachusetts https://www.google.com/search?q=suffolk+university+famous+alumni&sca 

Fresno Pacific University – Fresno California https://www.google.com/search?q=Fresno+Pacific+University+university+famous+alumni&sca 

 

It has taken Damaseke Chibale and the University of Zambia management to undo this and present me in a false light.  

  

I contend that the University of Zambia is liable for libel and defamation. I am therefore hereby notifying the University of Zambia that I have been left with no choice but to pursue all available legal remedies. I am further notifying Damaseke Chibale, acting on behalf of the University of Zambia and all recognizable influencers in social media to cease and desist from any further libel and defamation.  

  

Sincerely, 

 

Field Ruwe EdD 

43 COMMENTS

    • It all goes with subject. If you Field said British Computer Science degree, but not Agricultural Degree.
      What is this thing called Ruwe up to now again? A thing with name FIELD. Some fuuls don’t appreciate their own parents. How can say British d!cks go deeper than UNZA. Complain about Exams
      Zambian exams are designed to FAIL. But British or American nobody can fail, you just drop out.

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    • What I fail to understand is how can degrees from Tanzania where English is a second language be more recognized than UNZA? I have worked with our TZ brothers and I can tell you, our graduates from UNZA and other universities and colleges are miles ahead. Many Tanzanians even come to study at our institutions! Do they, the British know that?

    • UNZA degrees are truly inferior. Just see the caliber of people who come from that university. the behavior of the students who cant think to resolve problems but be a problem themselves. full of dull engineers. the university still suffered from water and power shorgates. so where is the credibility of what is taught? shut up and get serious. UNZA is not an institution but a rotten University. I am sure they will all Jump on this and start insulting me. Typical.

  1. This was well done. But the last part is what I truly disagree with. Is it necessary to seemingly become emotional and then rush to sue for libel and defamation?
    I was one who was surprised at the lack of detail in the response by Damaseke but I don’t see how Rude was personally defamed.
    But anyways, we await the outcome of this.

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    • As much as I supported his original article I think here Field is displaying a bloated ego inside a very thin skin. Damaseke’s response was half-baked but its a long shot to try and make it libelous. Can Field site particular instances he considers libellous?
      Any academic should expect their works to be criticised. Thats part of the process for academic qualification and that why we get our works published.

    • Mr Ruwe, however, wants to throw around his qualifications to shut other people up. And wanting to dash to the courts for one Damaseke when I ve seen Ruwe criticised by govt officials whom he doesnt respond to, shows an upper class mentality in which people who have achieved want to restrict discourse to their “class” only.
      Should we take Ruwe’s criticism seriously since any flaw we observe and publish will raise his mane?

  2. Is this not the same person who was spreading fake news about Zambia to influence our elections? so chili bwa?

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    • He is actually a tribalist who wrote rubbish about Chiluba, Sata and ECL but has gone ever since power was taken by HH despite many things remaining the same!!

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  3. It is a general characteristic in Zambja to play the man and not the ball. Chibale should have addressed the allegations and not go ad hominem as was the case. He was almost unwittingly confirming the indictment of the UK NARIC guys. Now let’s raise our standards a mambala!

  4. This Ruwe guy is walking in pride with his academic achievements. That does not make you better than the man in the street. This is where we get it wrong, after you get your degrees now you feel entitled and demand respect from people. Africa has a lot of challenges better than satisfying your egos. People are sleeping with empty stomachs and universities like UNZA can help to mitigate the challenges. If you feel your education is better then go and take your services to the Western countries. By the way in Europe or America you will not find people calling themselves Dr Ruwe, they call each other by first names! UNZA is good university that needs our support.

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    • @Shimwana I want help from local engineers on a project I want to embark on: mainly rural Road construction and electrification. How can I contact you?

  5. He has a colonial mentality, while I agree Zambian education system bottom to top must be reviewed to suit our needs of the economy, I do not agree that the leader of comparison & conformation should be UK degrees (my foot), their needs and our economically are different . I’m a UNZA alumni, and I joined the mining industry, I and many graduates both from UNZA & CBU have been very successful than most of these South Africa and UK fellas the man keeps praising. They don’t solve problems, but we do . Decolonize your mind man

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  6. Recently I saw the British Chevening scholarships being given to UNZA students to pursue Masters programmes in the UK. Is that a different UK or this British programme accepts inferior degrees? I beg some clarification or research didn’t find this fact…

  7. A voice from the past and let it be so
    Our education system from UNI to secondary has become poor
    I have often asked for lecturers and teachers to take the same exams given exams the students
    This is not an impossible request
    The results will confirm our suspicions
    its pointless arguing amongst each other if this is not done

  8. The route that Dr Ruwe has taken is void of intellectual reasoning and wit. If you present a paper to public, do not expect everyone to agree with you. Your ideas should not be shoved on everyone’s throat. There is nothing like attacking your reputation. Your reputation was on check that time you allowed to publish a foreign paper minus questioning their motive. UNZA reputation should be safeguarded by those of you in diaspora.It has made you who you are. A person who cannot defend his roots is a dead person. The paper you presented was put across so that it receives intellectual dissection. Do not expect everyone to agree to western opinion.

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    • You have hit the nail on the head! It seems “Dr Ruwe” never bothered about his audience before writing such an article about his old university. When you engage the public you need to address the fact that you are not dealing with your intellectual peers. You have to tone down your language and bring yourself to the level of a “common man”. That is why many of these “intellectuals” can not get things done because they are always dripping the last books they read. It had to take persons like Michael Sata and Levi to make our country move forward. Education is just part of the equation and practical skills are the other. Just having one is not enough and his ideas belong at a conference, not in the national press.

  9. Field Ruwe, the man with the longest queue in town. He has the education but the Komboni DJ mentality hasn’t left him. He’s been away for too long. For your information bro, we lost the judiciary as well. Sue for libel and you’ll see what I mean. By the time the matter is decided you’d have forgotten how it all started. Your rebuttal is enough, move on

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  10. Ruwe, what you wrote about UNZA is true and there is no need to apologize or start suing people. What UNZA management should do is reflect on what the UK, SA, yourself and other citizens are saying and improve on UNZA. I would personally rather employ someone from either CBU or Technical colleges other than a UNZA graduate who will be wasting my time flashing his paper and feeding me theories other than being productive.

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  11. Imagine you leave your home where you were eating one meal a day and then get a better life and can afford three meals a day. Do you attack the family where you came from? Or do you work with family to improve their diet? We know that UNZA is not the best, but it has punched above its weight. People that have been through its doors should be contributing towards its excellence, instead of tearing it down. In a way, this shows why as Africans we have failed to develop. We always think that Western things are better and we wait for the west to validate us. Leadership is using what is available and working with it

  12. Does he remember how he scornfully and maliciously attacked his fellow Zambians in 2021 in a series of written articles at LT with none hitting back at him? Sometimes let’s learn to move forward when made to taste our own medicine. Besides, Yunza’s response was so shallow that you dwelling on it makes you stoop to that level too. Why didn’t you address this letter to Plale? Oh, I shouldn’t argue with you, I wasn’t there!

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    • Colleagues,
      Field has given us his side of the story and with scholarly references to get to reading.This to me clearly indicates that the Gentleman’s article has both pros and cons that we need to discern than attach the persona.
      We can’t all agree with him that entirely our Unza is inferior but sometimes we don’t lose anything but gain in comparing the course contents yo that of othe World class Varsities and improve where we can funds allowing.
      We may as well compare even our own Universities in our country and learn one or many learning points from each other.
      That said, I am sure Dr Field Ruwe requires to to be let to write articles according to his learned stand and as a Zambian he probably would want to seek our opinions

  13. I find this whole issue unhelpful. University ratings are based on a number of criteria and reducing the rating to one number has always been controversial because some universities teach only a small number of disciplines. Within the UK itself, a new engineering university called The Dyson Institute now exists because its founder is dissatisfied with the way ALL universities in the UK are training engineers. Why then should we be too worried about how the British have rated our good old UNZA? Field Ruwe, sorry Dr Field Ruwe, has addressed his reply to the Chancellor of UNZA. Does he not know that the Chancellor of any university plays no role in day-to-day operations?

    • For the record, the Dyson Institute of Engineering &Technology was founded in 2017. Its founder is British engineer and billionaire James Dyson whose eponymous company makes home appliances.

    • @gunner+in+Zambia
      He probably reasoned that he should address correspondence to someone at his PhD level rather than the lowly person who is for that matter only in an acting position at Yunza Communications department. It is a battle of who is who within the academia and where you got your credentials from.

    • UNZA’s downgrade not only stems from luck of high quality and relevant research and development publications and innovations but also the worrying inability for of our current graduates to read and write proper English.

    • I doubt it if it’s a matter of addressing a fellow PhD holder because the Vice-Chancellor has a PhD from Loughborough University, a leading technology tertiary education institution, especially in Civil Engineering. In any case the Chancellor doesn’t even have to have a PhD. The Vice-Chancellor is the one who heads the University of Zambia and is the one Field Ruwe should have addressed if he trully means well.

  14. Lier. UNZA graduates have been going to UK to persue their masters degrees without any problem. You’re an ignorant person

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  15. @wkm

    I am criticizing his idea of seeking legal action against others, despite not being entirely blameless himself. He had made personal attacks on General Miyanda when he was weighing in on who would be the next leader in the past. It was uncalled for. UNZA through Chibale equally did a very bad job in an attempt to save face. Malice was the reason given by UNZA in their complaint instead of critically looking at the serious global allegations. Both Unza and FRuwe are teeming with amateurish verbal attack scripts. FRuwe must be reminded about the, ‘Do unto others as you want to be done to you’, maxim.

  16. No one has the right to make us inferior without our consent. When did the British evaluate our university education? What was the criteria? Was the evaluation shared with Unza. The author did not address these in his two articles. My take is that this Unza down grade is biased, ulterior and unfounded.

    • @Beaver..the fact that you using to communicate on here implies that t you are inferior to the Brits in the first place.

  17. @Beaver..the fact that you using English to communicate on here implies that t you are inferior to the Brits in the first place

  18. That’s a misleading and superficial argument. The EU still uses English as one of the working languages, among others. That’s purely because of Britain’s former status as a leading imperial/industrial power and world trading nation. That helped the English language to get established as a medium of communication. If a Swedish company wants to export to Japan or vice versa, the contract will be drawn up in English.

    • Exactly,nimwe mwaishiba ( you are the one who knows)!! Language is a medium of communication so learning it to broaden avenues of communication cannot be equivalent to inferiority, especially given the reach that English language has globally!!

  19. The emotionally response is from one who never set foot at Unza because he was not able to meet the entrance requirements…so took to a comedian not very funny at that..the sojourn to the us? Its a long story he himself told courtesy of the other…all the best in your suit.

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