Liberia: Gov’t Bars Honorary Degree Holders from Heading Tertiary Institutions – April 2023

The National Commission on Higher Education has announced a new policy that would pose problems for universities and colleges whose presidents have only honorary doctorate degrees.

The measures prohibit non-doctorate degree earners from serving as presidents for any tertiary institutions as may bep the case currently.   

If effectively enforced, many of the country’s top university and college presidents would be hooked, as many have honorary degrees that they tout as academic achievements.

The Commission’s actions came a few months after pledging to eliminate the rising number of tertiary institution presidents without terminal degrees as a way to stop the country’s higher education system from deteriorating.

“This is to inform all heads of higher education institutions in Liberia that one of the overarching policy expectations of the NCHE is that all Presidents and Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs (VPAA’s) of Universities and Colleges operating in Liberia must possess a doctorate degree from an accredited university and /or college.

“An honorary degree holder is disallowed to serve as President or Vice President for Academic Affairs at any higher education institutions within the Republic of Liberia”, the Commission said in a statement which was also signed by its Director-General, professor,  Edward Wonkeryor.

Meanwhile, the Commission decision follows the exposure of a slew of fake academic degrees by a Diaspora organization — the Campaigners for Academic Crimes Court in Liberia. The independent academic watchdog group has successfully proven that numerous public officials, as well as university and college professors, some of which serve at the University of Liberia, have been parading the echelons of power and privilege in Liberia with fake academic credentials.

The group has also for some time now been fighting degradation in the education system, beginning with a crackdown on unlicensed and phony schools that offer bogus degrees.

However, the Commission has struggled not only to address concerns about standards and quality, but also honorary doctorate degree holders at leading universities, while others are from unaccredited or unverified online universities. Established by an Act of the National Legislature in 1989, the NCHE is the statutory arm of the Liberian government that regulates and supervises higher education institutions. In Liberia, there are three public universities, 14 community colleges, and 25 private and faith-based colleges and universities.


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