Teachers’ unions have castigated tertiary institutions’ conferment of honorary degrees to politicians.

This comes after the conferment of three honorary doctorates to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Robert Mugabe, had five honorary degrees from Zimbabwean universities.

Obert Masaraure, president of the Association of Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, said the development was symptomatic of the bootlicking now pervasive in institutions of higher learning.

“The stampede to confer PHDs is a clear sign of the rot in our institutions of higher learning. The public officials in our universities know perfectly well that they are not competent enough to be holding the positions they are holding. Such characters may even loot public funds with impunity because they are guaranteed protection by appointing authority,” said Masaraure.

Takavafira Zhou, president of Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, said the conferment of honorary degrees was being used as an instrument to seek favours aligned to certain political leaders.

“It is also unfortunate that the president of the country is the chancellor of all universities and appoints all vice chancellors. In this case conferment of PhDs seems to be some form of seeking favours from the chancellor or some pay back for promotion of vice chancellors and other administrators in universities.

“In this way it’s a serious affront to academic excellence and autonomy of universities as some form of unprofessional fingers and external pressure seem to be at play in such conferment,” Zhou said.

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