HomeOpinion & AnalysisOpen letter to Dr Grace Mugabe

Open letter to Dr Grace Mugabe

Dear Amai
I am a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe who was capped by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe in person. I am extremely proud of our institution of highest learning.

I know it has produced some of the best quality graduates in the region, whose abilities are highly respected. They have given it a shinning and growing reputation. It is my wish to see that reputation continue to grow. I would not want to see it lowered.

Amai (Mother), I would very much love to congratulate you on your graduation from this prestigious beloved institution of ours. However, before I do that, may I humbly ask for clarity on a few points.

I know that many people who study for degrees at whatever level publicise it, especially if they are prominent people. They even publicise the period of study. It is entirely shocking to hear about someone’s study and qualification only when the chancellor’s hand is about to be placed upon their head to cap them.

For example, we know that Her Excellency Vice-President Joice Mujuru graduated from the Women’s University in 2005. She graduated again from Chinhoyi University of Technology in 2008. We already knew that she was going to graduate from the Women’s University again this year.

Amai your study seems to have been rather secretive. Needless to say, that on its own raises a lot of questions.

Awarding a “degree” under murky circumstances, not only makes the recipient an object of ridicule, it also makes the awarding institution an object of ridicule. It besmirches its reputation.

It seriously compromises the integrity and reputation of qualifications, not only to be awarded in future, but those already awarded by the institution.
Once serious doubt is cast upon the veracity and quality of degrees an institution awards, it seriously affects the careers and employment opportunities of alumni of the institution.

My dearest Amai, you will not be sitting in the interview panels and employment agencies that review job applications. If the perception is that the UZ awards degrees without paying due attention to the quality of the study process, CVs will be thrown aside without much ado.

It is therefore in the interests of UZ graduates, past, present and future, to make sure that the degrees that we spent years and thousands of dollars studying for are not degraded in the eyes of potential employers. The acquisition of a degree is not an ego enhancement endeavour, but a serious learning process.

Based upon information in the public domain, our dearest Amai, you do not seem to have done sufficient study to obtain a baccalaureate, let alone a doctorate.

University study is a public affair because it is meant to demonstrate publicly that the student has done the necessary work to acquire a certain level of knowledge. That is why study records are always publicly available, usually in the form of project reports, published papers, theses and other activities all listed in an academic transcript.

To obtain a doctorate degree by study one needs to have a baccalaureate degree and a subsequent master’s degree. During the study for the doctorate itself, one needs to author several academic papers of sufficient quality to be published in internationally renown, referred journals.

Amai, it is up to you to let us know which journals your work was published in.

In conclusion, Amai, if you did do the work requisite for a doctoral degree, I would like to heartily congratulate you on your successful graduation.
If you did not, I will not lie to you. Not only am I disgusted, but I am extremely concerned at the potential to degrade qualifications issued by the UZ in the eyes of industry and commerce.

They ultimately are the main reason why people are schooled in universities. People are not schooled just to give them status, but to make them true experts that industry and commerce can rely upon.

Only you know the truth of what happened. It is up to you to silence the doubting Thomases with a forthright narrative of how your study was conducted. That should be very simple.

Thank you very much Amai for giving me your attention. Once clarification has been made on your qualification process, I will not withhold my congratulations.


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