PhDs in Africa & worldwide

From Today’s Standard Newspaper. PhD: Rare qualification in African Universities:

. . . quality issues in universities in sub-Saharan Africa are directly linked to insufficient lecturers with PhD qualifications. Internationally, universities with higher ratio of staff with PhDs in relation to the number of students are highly ranked and regarded as centres of excellence.

“But low pay in comparison to that offered by alternative professional occupations has forced African PhDs to migrate to developed countries and Gulf States,” says a World Bank report on the status of university education in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that more than 30,000 Africans with PhDs live outside the continent. [Emphasis mine]

According to Unesco, the most sought after African intellectuals are those with PhD degrees in engineering, computer science, mathematics and medicine.

Brain drain
Ms Mamphela Ramphele, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, says: “The brain drain has left universities in Africa struggling to recruit professors with advanced degrees. The lack of highly trained staff has led to declining quality of education virtually in all countries in sub-Saharan Africa.” Those who have not joined the exodus to greener pastures have debunked research and many hold multiple appointments.

See also: Peter Materu – Higher Education Quality Assurance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Status, Challenges, Opportunities, and Promising Practices – World Bank Working Paper No. 124 – 2007 (Pdf download – 104 pages, 400kb)

PHD Students worldwide:

Recent years have seen a steady growth in the number of doctorates awarded in almost every country.

The highest numbers for registered students in 2003/5
(Powell and Green p.235, 2007)

  1. US (837,000)
  2. China (165,000)
  3. UK (111,000)
  4. Japan (75,000)
  5. France (70,000)
  6. India (65,000)

The highest number for doctorates awarded of those listed:

  1. US (42,000),
  2. Germany (23,000)
  3. UK (15,000)
  4. India (13,000)

Source: Trends and Issues in Post Graduate Education: A Global Review. The UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge. (See Heather Eggin’s Keynote Paper for the DCU/UNESCO Forum Workshop Dublin, Ireland, 5-7 March 2008, p. 3/17). – Presentation PDF download

Citing: Powell, S.D. & Green, H. (2007) The Doctorate Worldwide Buckingham, Open University Press.

4 thoughts on “PhDs in Africa & worldwide

  1. emmanuel onyedi wingate says:

    In Nigeria the main obstacle to obtaining a Ph.D is the somewhat reluctance of the academic cult to awarding such highly rated, status enhancing degree. It is not uncommon to see brilliant lecturers with credible publications and perfect performance in the classrooms sweating for many years to no avail for the degree. I’ve found out that when a young lecturer at the UNN answers to ‘Dr.’ (s)he has studied abroad and in record time too. A prof. that does not produce a doctoral graduate in five years should in my opinion be sacked. It is possible that they keep wanting to be the only cocks that strut and crow.

    • Ben says:

      Interesting, but sad. Thanks for adding this perspective. Can I infer that you have personally suffered from this injustice?

      • emmanuel onyedi wingate says:

        I’m an undergraduate. I’ve had no personal experience. This is infered from what I see and hear.

      • Ben says:

        It is a very interesting perspective. Thanks for your original comment; it’s always good to get data from from those that are closer to the situation.

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