The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria is set to down tools to protest a policy of the National Universities Commission which recommended that lecturers in the Nigerian university system should have a PhD.
The National President of MDCAN, Prof. Kenneth Ozoilo, in an interview with our correspondent, said all attempts to negotiate with the NUC had failed and the association would soon embark on a nationwide strike when the ultimatum they gave the NUC expired.
He said, “We work as doctors and lecturers, we are consultants in the teaching hospitals and also work as lecturers in the colleges of medicine. Our qualification to be a doctor and to be a lecturer is what we obtain during our residency training.
“As a doctor, after our first degree, we do go for housemanship, we go for the NYSC and we also go for additional training to become consultants. That has been the qualification and requirements to be a lecturer and to be a consultant.
“Before now, this has been accepted but recently the NUC came out with a position that everybody that teaches in the university must have a PhD. This puts us in a very awkward position because a PhD does not give you the competence to practice medicine. As a PhD holder, you cannot be responsible for the management of a patient. You still need to do your residency training and specialise, that is the only thing that qualifies you to be in charge of a patient.
“Now, the NUC is insisting that we must get a PhD and we are saying that the certificate doesn’t add any further value to our training. It doesn’t improve our ability to train medical students and it doesn’t improve our ability to take care of patients.”
However, the Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, in an interview with our correspondent, said it was unfortunate that the MDCAN did not take time to study the circular.
He said, “Our circular never prescribed PhD as a requirement for them to teach in the colleges of medicine. We say PhD is desirable but not necessary for progression in medical education. We have made it very clear, instead of them to acknowledge the two-page circular they took just a single phrase there which is on career progression.
“What we are saying is that if you are in the university system and you are a consultant, you will continue to be promoted but if you have a PhD, your promotion will be faster. With your PhD you are likely to produce a better research paper and instead of spending four to five years on a particular rank, you can get it within the minimum period. All that we are saying is that it is recommended to them but it is not compulsory. It didn’t start today as there are more than 100 of them who have PhD already.
“We are not under MDCAN, we don’t work with pressure group, even ASUU which is our academic union does not negotiate with us, it is like negotiating with students to start asking them the exam or questions they want to answer. We are going to come out with a press release to inform the public because some people have pathological hatred against PhD. I’m sure they haven’t even read the circular.”