Zimbabwe govt orders withdrawal of fake degrees

Dodgy Delish Nguwaya (Image: Newzim)
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THE Government, through its regulatory board, the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), has ordered the public withdrawal of all degrees awarded by non-accredited institutions, outlining the relevant lawful procedures to be followed in awarding honorary degrees in line with the country’s Constitution.

In a press statement, ZIMCHE chief executive officer Professor Kuzvinetsa Peter Dzvimbo said ZIMCHE, as the statutory board, was relevant primarily as the guardrails to higher education to maintain credibility and standards.

He said ZIMCHE played a vital role in maintaining the academic and professional quality of the higher education system by ensuring that universities adhered to rigorous intellectual and professional standards.

In Zimbabwean universities, the awarding of honorary doctorates adhered to a stringent multi-tiered process designed to safeguard the recipient’s merit and preserve the university’s academic and intellectual reputation.

“Throughout the entire process, meticulous due diligence is paramount. The university must meticulously verify the nominee’s achievements and ensure that there are no controversies or ethical concerns that could potentially undermine the honour,” said Prof Dzvimbo.

“Once all approvals are granted, the university typically announces the honorary doctorate publicly. An official ceremony is often held to confer the degree upon the recipient, celebrating their remarkable achievements.

“This is usually done at a graduation ceremony with other degrees such as earned Doctorates and Master’s degrees (MBA, MA, MSc, M Phil etc) in our universities that are registered by ZIMCHE, or indeed universities regionally, continentally, or globally, this process unfolds as follows:

“a) Departmental Nomination: The initial stage frequently commences within the academic department or an academic department most aligned with the recipient’s accomplishments.

“This department meticulously gathers information and nominates a highly deserving individual, providing a detailed account of their significant contributions and justifying the proposed recognition.

“b) Faculty Approval: The nomination is then presented to the Faculty Board, which deliberates upon. If the Faculty Board agrees, the submission is cascaded to the Senate by the Faculty Board,” said Prof Dzvimbo.

The third step would be Senate approval where the nomination would be presented before the senior academia for voting.

“The departmental nomination and faculty approved nomination is subsequently presented to the university Senate, a body comprising senior academic members and Deans, Pro Vice Chancellors and the Vice Chancellor who chairs it.

“Following a thorough review, the Senate may invite the nominee to deliver a presentation or participate in a discussion for further evaluation,” said prof Dzvimbo.

“After careful consideration, the Senate casts a vote to either approve or reject the nomination before passing on the nomination to the Council. Council is the supreme body in our registered universities,” he said.

Upon senate approval, the nomination would be advanced to the university council which typically included external members alongside senior university officials.

“The Council meticulously examines the nomination to ensure it aligns with the university’s core values, vision, mission, and mandates and upholds its esteemed academic standing.

“They may request additional information or clarifications before voting on final approval.

“Following the University Council approval, the recommendation for the Honorary Doctorate is forwarded to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology Development for consideration.”

There was need for approval by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chancellor of all State universities.

“This step signifies national recognition and ensures alignment with broader educational objectives and our national vision.

“For private universities, final approval may be by the Vice Chancellor or Chancellor. This outlined process underscores the significant weight placed on awarding honorary doctorates within Zimbabwean universities,” said Prof Dzvimbo.

He said ZIMCHE’s authority was bestowed upon it by an Act and to uphold academic integrity in the public interest. – Herald