The Love for PhD in Ghana and the Uneasiness of its Acquisition

It is a non-negotiable fact that universities are centered on research and teaching, and therefore a well equipped faculty of knowledgeable PhD researchers is a component of the larger environment which makes university a world class one.

It’s for the above stated that the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ghana and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) seek to make PhD, a research acquired degree the minimum requirement for recruitment into the senior member category of our universities.

The Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh said at the ‘Meet the Press’ series on Tuesday, 20 November, “Now if you do not hold a PhD, you will not be able to teach in a university,”. With a caveat, however, he added: “But most of the lecturers in our colleges of education do not hold PhD. So, we are giving them time to improve their knowledge through the British government support”.

Though, PhD is an important degree to have as an academic, how affordable is it?  A four year well researched PhD education can averagely cost $100,000 in some fields like medicine and engineering, however, the cost may outweigh that.

It’s true that there are Government bilateral scholarships and some universities allocated funds to promote and support PhD studies. The question is how many people can easily access these privileges?

GETFund support for graduate studies in Ghana is peanut for well class research work. Some researchers receive as low as GHc 2000 from GETFund for research. In the field of medical, agriculture and engineering research, one need well equipped laboratories and high impact conferences to acquire the need knowledge and skills needed to run a faculty.

The country should prioritize equipping laboratories in our Senior High Schools, Colleges, and Universities to make PhD’s relevant because PhD without impactful research is ‘useless’.

Acquiring PhD in Humanities in Ghana is relatively cheaper compared to the Sciences, therefore graduates intended to join faculties in Humanities should be given full support by Government and Universities whiles bilateral scholarships for PhD should be more centered on the Sciences. I know the DAAD programme is already moving in this direction.

Professors and faculties should give more attention to writing proposals in order to seek funding from donor agencies to train more junior faculty members and brilliant graduates. Some faculty members are already moving in this direction in many universities which is laudable.

Going forward, the state should make good use of the researchers after their PhD’s not only as academic staff but as stakeholders in policy making. The outcomes of PhD research should be piloted and if reliable and affordable implemented as an innovation. These outcomes should not be allowed to rot on shelves in our traditional libraries.


Written by;

Haruna Gado Yakubu, Research Fellow, ILAPI, Ghana


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