Jingle of empty vessels
Historically, the doctorate certificate is the highest degree that could be obtained in majority of the fields, most notably Medicine and Law.
Use of the doctorate title became prevalent in the 19th century when the Doctor of Philosophy degree had a broader meaning — love for knowledge or wisdom. The Doctor of Philosophy degree was granted to those who studied Neurology, Physics, French Literature and others.
Conditions for obtaining the certificate were rigid and required the discovery of a new thing or theory. Nevertheless, by the end of the Second World War, the number of those pursuing the degree increased remarkably. Universities also required their teachers to obtain the certificate. Over time, the holders of the degree increased and exceeded the need of universities. Consequently, they moved to other areas of work.
As the number of doctors increased, there have been demands in the scientific community, starting in 1968, to introduce reforms or stop granting the certificate to those who are not interested in education.
Without a doubt, our societies are not familiar with modern human civilization, and until recently, they were almost illiterate. Political and family correspondence or documents for selling real estate properties, for example, were written in poor Arabic which reflected the modest educational situation, so the literate people were regarded as ‘teachers’, and then their status declined.
Those who completed the secondary level were seen as graduates, but years later, as their number increased, the title was given to graduates of universities who got positions easily with the highest salaries.
Suddenly, at the beginning of the 1960s, a group knowing which side of the bread was buttered discovered that our societies, “illiterate by nature and naïve by choice,” were astounded by scientific titles even if they lacked substance. Without exerting any effort, they sought to obtain doctorate degrees from low quality universities in European countries, often under the influence of the Soviet Union, and in non-important disciplines.
Arab universities, especially in Egypt, came to meet the enthusiasm of many to obtain doctorate degrees while they are in their home countries. One of the first and most famous of them was a minister of education who got master’s and doctorate degrees while he was in the office, yet no one asked him how he did so.
The reason is that everyone was impressed with the title, ignorant of the conditions for obtaining it and the required period of not less than three years. This means — for those concerned with the matter — all those who got the title while they are at the forefront of their work such as the top official in Farwaniya, a former lawmaker, a number of ministers, and former and future MPs do not deserve the title.
These people are obliged to abandon the title as the case of two preachers, and a minister who did it through an official letter he sent to the Shariah Committee at Zakat House.
The problem that whets the appetite of those with weak souls and minds to obtain, through various means, a doctorate degree is the great level of respect given to the holder of the title in political employment, the Cabinet, in Diwans or in articles written on their behalf.
The greed for financial privileges given to holders of the title also contributed to the increase in their number, as well as those who are aspiring for the Kuwaiti nationality. The goal is not in the interest of this land, but the financial benefits granted to naturalized persons. If such benefits and advantages are cancelled, the Kuwaiti nationality will not be attractive for them.
The disaster, which we have long warned most scientific and honorable bodies and most of those related to religious institutions about, showed that the absence of morality is the reason behind fraud, not the absence of religious ‘dosage’. The falsehood of well-known preachers has been exposed and their thrones have fallen apart despite the fact they have long been making us deaf with their sermons about honor, morality and honesty.
I was the first to write more than 10 years ago that I would not address or refer to an academician by his title after the fraud became public, and after discovering the emptiness of the minds of many of the holders of doctorate degrees, knowing that the title does not mean much even to the holders of authentic doctorate degrees.
Obtaining the certificate often means that the holder has completed literary, scientific or other researches in a particular field and based on the opinion of the committee which evaluated his abilities, and accordingly, granted him the degree as evidence of his efforts.
So, we always note that the vast majority of PhD holders — the real, not the false — have more knowledge or abilities in a specific field of research than others. It is also assumed that a doctorate degree means the holder discovered something new in his field of research. If we look into the researches of many doctorate degree holders now, especially in the Gulf states, we will notice weaknesses in their supposed areas of expertise and they did not add anything to the knowledge of humanity.
From then on, I always ridiculed and criticized the clergy ‘doctors’ who are supposed to have come up with something new to be added to the doctrine. As it is known to the public, religion is complete, so how did they come up with something new?
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf