Medical doctors must now have PhD before they can lecture – NUC

The National University Commission (NUC) through a circular dated 24th December 2019 have directed the Vice Chancellors of all universities within Nigeria and and the Registrar of the National Postgraduate Medical College to ensure that henceforth medical consultants must have a PhD to qualify them to lecture medical students noting that residency training leading to the possession of fellowship was not enough to qualify them to teach medical students in the university.

The commission, therefore, advised doctors that have undergone residency training to enrol for PhD Programme to qualify them to teach in medical schools adding that the prerequisite does not apply to doctors who want to limit themselves to clinical practice.

Medical doctors must now have PhD before they can lecture
Medical doctors must now have PhD before they can lecture

Withdraw the circular or prepare for a mass strike action – MDCAN

Accordng to the spokesperson of MDCAN: “MDCAN will first withdraw services from teaching undergraduate medical students from the 24th of February, 2020. Then it will be followed with withdrawal from teaching doctors undergoing postgraduate training before it will finally withdraw services entirely from the health sector if NUC fails to withdraw the letter.”

PhD is good but we don’t need it to train medical doctors – National President of MDCAN

Kicking against the NUC’s position, the National President of MDCAN, Prof. Kenneth Ozoilo, 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.

Ozoilo 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.”

NUC backtracks, says doctors read different meanings to the circular

Seeing the controversy the said letter has generated among medical practitioners and other well meaning Nigerians on the social and print media, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed has backtracked and clarified the commission’s new policy as well as accused the MDCAN of misinterpreting the circular.

Rasheed 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.” He said.

Is this the end of this controversy?




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