Emeritus Professor Webster is a man of distinction who has made significant comment on issues of significance in South Africa. A professor at the University of the Witwatersrand he received an honorary qualification from another tertiary institution in South Africa for his contribution to development of positive social and cultural relations in South Africa. I read his paper published in ‘The Conversation’ with interest and got to thinking.

Professor Webster’s Honorary Doctorate has been well earned. He did not get it for winning a race, kicking a football, swinging a cricket bat or swimming in a pool. He did not get it for fighting a war or being a Politican.

It is a sincere and meaningful, not a trivial and meaningless qualification that devalues academe. Too many honorary qualifications are given to those who have in no way contributed on the academic front. That trivialises high level qualifications. Handing out honorary qualifications willy-nilly needs to stop.

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