Some Thoughts On African PhDs


By Bai M. Gbala, Sr 
Contributor


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
May 23, 2017

                  




In her recent article, Reshaping African PhDs (New Democratnews, May 18, 2017), Vice Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, underscored “The growing recognition that knowledge and innovation are critical contributors to national wealth and welfare, postgraduate education – specifically doctorial training – has become a priority for African higher education”.

Chancellor de la Rey strikes at the core of 21st century issues concerned with knowledgeclassical knowledge for the sake of knowledge, as it were, and/or “knowledge & innovation” as critical contributors to national wealth (Adam Smith) and welfare.

Indeed, almost, all African countries, particularly, my home country, Liberia, “Slum Democracy”, representing the “Dis-Possessed” poor and un-educated has gained or is gaining popularity.

Domiciled in over-crowded, over-populated shanty-town, Slum-enclaves of Liberia’s Capital City of Monrovia are the children of parents who fled from the towns and villages of Rural Liberia, ignored, isolated and rejected by the nation’s rulers/decision-makers, with little or no socio-economic development such that the parents became part of the world-wide historical process of rural-to-urban migration, but without the necessary requirement for urban, economic survival.

Hence, they (parents) became/become street market merchants, with side-walk, eye-sore shops and displays, and their children became/become street-walking, teen-age peddlers, with some who were child-soldiers, carried AK-47s and graduates of Liberia’s civil war nightmare.

Un-educated but “street-smart” and “with it” leaders of the “consumption-without-production” generation of about age 30 and under, the nation’s overwhelming majority (of the  Body Politic) and undisputed “voice of the Wrath of the Dis-Possessed, now elected members of the National Legislature.  Judging from the 170-year, historic shenanigans of public/private dishonesty and rampant corruption, including the “12-year business-as-usual” public/private dishonesty and this new democratic approach, the “Slum Democracy”, apparently, it is now “New wine in old bottles”, inexperience due to lack of education, legislative social class vengeance or all of the above.  

Meanwhile, today’s upper-class African leaders’ obsession with and for classical knowledge-education and traditional “model of careers in education”, by and large, appears to be unmindful of the 21st century demand that “knowledge and innovation are” or have become the “critical contributors to national wealth”, rooted in post-graduate study, a pre-condition, that the title of “doctor” earned from post-graduate education maintained its respect and honor in society in “traditional pathways” to careers in academia, although informed, also, of the “critical” need for “careers in government, industry and the professions”.

This need is shown by the proliferation or multiplicity of the internet, online schools and universities for post-graduate education with the terminal degree of “doctor” in the area concentration, but there is muted or quiet, general dissatisfaction with the quality of online learning, particularly, online doctorates in government and industry circles.

But research study sponsored by the American Sloan Foundation and the published, research information, The Future of Online Teaching & Learning in Higher Educationby Kyong Kim and Curtis Bonk, also American professional educators, did not address the issue of academic quality of online “doctoral” degrees as compared to ones earned by resident or face-to-face learning. This approach is understandable because:

1. The survey questions did not, specifically, ask for rating the online doctoral degree;

 2. The survey questions were addressed not to the end-user, the consumer – government and industry, but addressed to the producer and the product – the online teaching institutions and the students; and

3. With the overwhelming majority of American education privately-owned and operated on the economic theory of profit and loss, with sales (of degrees) to the highest bidder, one can understand the logic of the research survey questions.

Now, our hunch, based on years of interactions with doctors, both traditional and online, tended to support the view held by many that online doctorates do not enjoy credibility and quality, though online study is relatively convenient and inexpensive to older and poor students with family responsibilities, because of:

1. The absence  of campus residence, dormitory, college atmosphere with debates, discussions and exchange of ideas with students from diversity of backgrounds, cultures and society, a learning and academic enrichment;

2. Lack or absence of interaction with on-campus resident, major-area study advisor;

3. Use of paid-class attendants representing online students with periodic term paper- writers.

4. Doctoral degree Thesis absent of the level, scope, depth, range and coverage of traditional academic requirement of original thought and contribution to knowledge; and

5. The “doctor” degree has become apparent path or roadway to Government for instant, over-night riches due to public/private dishonesty, moral decadence and Corruption, Incorporated.


Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah
If "The “doctor” degree has become apparent path or roadway to Government for instant, over-night riches due to public/private dishonesty, moral decadence and Corruption, Incorporated",as you Bai Gbala claim, WHAT ABOUT YOUR 18 YEARS IN GOVERNMENT WITH FAILED GOVERNMENTS OR ADMINISTRATIONS:

Bai Gbala WHO "served not only the Military (PRC) Government of Head of State, Master Sergeant Sammuel K. Doe (4 years); Civilian Government of President Sammuel K. Doe (5 years); Interim Government of National Unity of Dr. Amos Sawyer (5 years); Council of State, Interim Government of Chairpersons Kpomakpor, Sankawulo and Perry (3 years, 5 months) as Political/Economic Advisor; and the “elected” Government of President Taylor (of “jungle justice”) as International Affairs Advisor (9 months)."

AND NOW SUPPORTING A UNITY PARTY REGIME AS A PAID PR MAN ...A UNITY PARTY REGIME AND ITS CANDIDATE JOSEPH BOAKAI WHO AND HIS PARTY HAVE NO ACHIEVEMENT TO SHOW AFTER 12 YEARS IN POWER!

Mr, Gbala, juxtaposing your 18 YEARS IN GOVERNMENT with that of The “doctor” degree, an individual with such a degree and your opportunist conduct as reflected in your brief resumee,(and your opportunist behaviour at the moment with the Unity Party) the both of you have the same "apparent path or roadway to Government for instant, over-night riches due to public/private dishonesty, moral decadence and Corruption, Incorporated." ISN´T IT?


Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah at 04:38AM, 2017/05/24.
Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
As an Eternal Political Animal, I do not preach about Bai Gbala, me and myself. But to answer the questions and issues raised by Messer Kandajaba, Zoebohn and Zoedjallah, a note to clear the air is necessary.

Regarding the issue of a PhD, unfortunately, I do not have a PhD, let alone an online PhD, nor any graduate education online.

About my 18 years in Government.
For me, public service had been motivated by the desire to be “an agent for change”, due to the socio-economic and political indignities to which my parents, relatives and thousands of other citizens in our towns, villages, district and County were subjected. Examples are:

That the “Emperor” had been and is naked, symbolized by one-party, single socio-economic class rule with taxation without representation; forced collections of rice, palm oil, poultry, cattle, wild meat and moneys from the villages and towns; forced, unpaid labor for construction of district compounds, military barracks, “roads” or paths with crude implements such as hoes, cutlasses, diggers, axes and shovels; forced individuals from the villages and towns to carry loads/luggage on heads and district and other officials in hammocks as “porters” or carriers and many other such practices to which my parents, uncles, other relatives and citizens in the district, were subjected.

The eldest of three brothers and three sisters of a powerful Tribal Leader, we were introduced to western education on the Assembly of God Mission, Boarding School in Zwedru, Capital City of Grand Gedeh County. The socio-economic and political indignities to which our parents and people, in the district, were subjected and the introduction to western thought, somewhat Grand Gedean, local, modern Enlightenment at the Mission, Boarding school ignited and fed a passion in me to “learn and know book to be “quee”, in order to be an agent for change, reform and transformation. Hence, the journey, on foot, from the village of my birth to the Mission school in Zwedru; thence, on foot, to the-then faraway Monrovia and the Old Catholic School on Ashmund Street, Monrovia, thence to the University of Liberia Laboratory High School and to the strange land, USA, for education that grounded this passion in me for change.

Not “path or roadway to government (public service) for instant, over-night riches due to public/private dishonesty, moral decadence and Corruption, Incorporated”, the present-prevailing approach to public service.

Indeed, I have been, and am motivated, moreover, by naturally-endowed, village egalitarian-utilitarian principles. My entire life has been and is guided, consistently, by this passion and conviction.


Regarding Endorsement of VP Boakai
My Endorsement and support of the Vice President was and is clear and unequivocal. The excerpts:
ENDORSEMENT/RECOMMENDATION
A MATTER OF FACTS & EVIDENCE
MONROVPA, FEBRUARY 2017

Today 2017, our Nation is anxiously engaged to elect honest, loyal, patriotic and competent citizen as the Nation’s Chief Executive Officer to lead, encourage and support professionalism in the management of:

a) The Nation’s Micro, Macroeconomic policies – Fiscal and Monetary;
b) Honesty & professionalism in Financial Management, Control and Reporting;
c) Structural separation of National Planning/Economic Development from (Ministry of) Finance of government operations;
d) National Transport/Communications - safe, efficient/effective, modern roads and highways, the Premier Multiplier Effect in national economic development; and
e) Commitment/dedication to professional Management of the nation’s rapid population growth, rural-to-urban migration, over-population and increasing congestion of the nation’s Capital (Monrovia) with increasing demand for city services – urban transport, paved streets & roads, 24/7 traffic jam, sanitation, electricity, safe drinking water and sewer, etc. – that are not available.

Meanwhile, government officials, although generously compensated, including generous allowances for transport, housing, insurance, electric power generators with fuel & service, domestic and foreign travel are, allegedly, involved in a cesspool of lies, deceit, bribery, thievery, public dishonesty or “rampant Corruption”, now roaring and galloping.

Now, in the light of our Nation’s system of competitive, comparative and pluralistic political process under law, and our obligations/responsibilities not only of Citizens, but also, of Senior Citizens, Elder statesmen and enlightened, eternal, political Animals impel and give us great pleasure not only to ENDORSE, but also, to RECOMMEND His Excellency, JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, Sr., sitting Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Republic of Liberia for twelve years, for PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.

Born and raised in the Village of Warsonga, Lofa County, in Northwest rural Liberia, JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, SR. rose through the ranks of public service from Managing Director of Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC), Lofa County Branch, to Deputy Minister of Agriculture, to Minister of Agriculture, to various, notable strategic public service positions and to the current, elected position of Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, for twelve professional, patriotic, successful years.

Reasonably, in terms of training, varied work experience (particularly in agricultural management, University of Liberia) the primary NEED for Liberia which had been, and is, unable to feed itself and age (the source of wisdom) and exposure to and successful performance in local, national and international affairs, NO other candidate for President of Liberia possesses the qualification as Vice President JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, SR.

Indeed, it is reasonably appropriate and relevant to remind Young and Old Liberia by the following Equation and thought:

1. WISDOM (the reservoir of knowledge) = Sound training + Varied work experience + Age;

2. Wisdom is taught at no school, college or university; and that

3. JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, SR. possesses all of the above.

I am not a paid mouthpiece nor political consultant. The Endorsement speaks for itself. In fact, it is consistent with my desire for public service. Joseph Boakai suffered the socio-economic and political indignities to which the overwhelming majority of the population of this country was subjected. He knows the problems!!

Bai M. Gbala, Sr. at 01:52PM, 2017/05/28.
Tarkpor Jones
Mr. Gbala, we know you and people of your ilk who have suddenly received political salvation and are now masquerading as saviors of the people.You are the very ones who, by your past actions, got the country in this state of mess that it's in. Instead of cowering somewhere, keeping quiet and seeking political salvation, your types are portraying self-righteous attitudes while pointing fingers at some of the very people you victimized. Liberians are people who forgive but don't think they are fools! May your soul roast in hell!!
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