The National Council for Higher Education (NHCE) has advised recipients of honorary doctorates that the award is not academic and cannot be used for academics, professional or work-related purposes.
According to Saul Waigolo, the Public Relations Officer-NHCE, the Institution was receiving pressure from several holders for the council to recognize their awards as academic qualifications.
“Whereas the regulation requires that only public and chartered universities should award honorary doctorates, this has already been violated as many non-chattered Institutions are dishing out the award as they wish,” Waigolo said.
The council re-echoed that this category of award is not Academic and cannot be used for academics, professional or work-related purposes.
NCHE guided that in Uganda, a University that meets the aforementioned requirements can only award under three categories including a Doctor of Laws for public service to eminent statesmen/women, administrators, lawyers, business people, farmers, and any other outstanding people in society, a Doctor of Letters for outstanding service or contribution to humanities and Doctor of Science for contribution to science.
The council further clarified that the awardees cannot add initials of PhD to titles on their names saying that the nomenclature for honorary awards should clearly specify any of the three categories and should not include PhD anywhere.
“A holder of an honorary degree is required to indicate in the title that the award is referred to as honorary and not Academic, for example Daniel Musheke LLD (Hon. Causa) as the case may be but not Dr. Daniel Musheke,” the statement read.
Mahir Balunywa, a lecturer in a number of private universities said that he observed the challenge over the years noting that many universities no longer follow the regulations, which are nearly rendering the awards useless.
Dr. Muhammad Mpezamihingo, the Vice Chancellor of Kampala International University welcomed the guidance from the NCHE on the matter, saying that there is a need for the Institutions that are awarding these degrees to brief their users.
An honorary doctorate is a high-level academic recognition granted by a university to a recipient without completion of the normal requirements for that degree.
A number of people with honorary doctorates from different universities in and outside the country have been presenting them to the NHCE to be equated as academic qualifications.