From: Professor Stanley N Ihekweazu, South Carolina State University

I refer to the article about Nigerian lecturers without PhDs losing their jobs (UWN 30 March 2008). The idea of issuing a unilateral proclamation that all university lecturers must possess a PhD for continued employment in their present positions is ill-advised. It is tantamount to pursuing the shadow instead of the substance.

First, is there any evidence that the standard or quality of education has fallen because of university faculty with MS degrees only? Are we doing it simply for bragging rights such that we can say that everyone teaching in any Nigerian university holds a PhD?

I do not see any rationale for it. Is there any country in the world with this kind of policy? I did some graduate work in the UK and it may surprise you to note there are many professors in British universities with only MS degrees and many years of experience.

While a PhD degree may be desirable and encouraged, letting every faculty go because they do not posses the union card called the PhD is the wrong thing to do. Look hard and you may find that there are people with MS degrees and experience who are better than many PhD holders.

Stanley N Ihekweazu, PhD, is a professor and chair of the department of civil and mechanical engineering technology at South Carolina State University, US.