Nigerians have a penchant for titles, the sad thing is that academics have imbibed this habit.

There are only 2 academic titles all over the world, and these are Doctor, (Dr) and Professor (Prof). There are two educational systems, the British and the American.

Nigeria was colonised by the British and as such we use the British educational system.

This was drummed into our young minds as soon as we started school.


British-  Professor
America- Professor

British- Reader
America- Associate Professor

British- Senior Lecturer
America- Assistant Professor

In the Academy, calling someone Associate Professor so and so is awkward and cumbersome and should be avoided.

Following the British educational system under which we were schooled, an Associate Professor/Reader is simply addressed as “Dr.” Why do we insist on using American titles. A Senior lecturer for instance cannot be addressed as Senior Lecturer so and so, it is simply not done.

Readers and senior lecturers are ranks not tiles. However, “Professor” is both a rank and a title. If one wants to show that he is in the professorial cadre, simply put it this way. I am Dr so and so, I’m a Reader or Associate Professor.

Let us stick to the British system of things.

The other day on this platform, there was an argument as to which was right: DEFENSE OR DEFENCE. They are both right, but like I have stressed, we use the British educational system.

I am certain that the NDA Management would frown if the Academy was written this way.
Titles and ranks are gender neutral.

Addressing a female academic as Dr (Mrs) is discriminatory to say the least. Men are not addressed as Dr (Mr), why do it for women? “Dr” and “Mrs” are titles, using them together amounts to tautology, it is a fault in style. If you must let people know that you are married and a PhD holder, do it elegantly this way: Mrs Leslie Brown, PhD, NOT Dr (Mrs) Leslie Brown. Our military counterparts do not address female officers as Major (Mrs) or Col (Mrs).

All laptops and computers give the options of languages to use with the systems. Only the English Language gives 2 options: UK English and US English. Cadets and PG students should be encouraged to use the British system of spellings, and this can easily be done by setting the language preference in the system to UK English.

Thank you for your attention, Sir.
Dr JO Ogbaji
Department of History and War Studies.

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