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Does PhD qualification improve pedagogical competence? A study on teaching and training in higher education

Ugochukwu Chinonso Okolie (Department of Vocational and Technology Education, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)
Paul Agu Igwe (University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Chinyere Augusta Nwajiuba (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)
Sunday Mlanga (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)
Michael Olayinka Binuomote (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)
Hyginus Emeka Nwosu (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)
Charles O. Ogbaekirigwe (Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Nigeria)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 12 March 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020

395

Abstract

Purpose

There has been much debate in recent times about the factors that improve the quality of teaching in higher education (HE) institutions. This has been especially fueled by the increasing importance attached to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualification. To fill the existing gap in the current literature in this regard, this study aims to investigate whether HE teachers (lecturers) who undergo pedagogical training (PT) in addition to obtaining PhD qualification possess higher knowledge and pedagogical competencies (PCs) than those that relied only on having PhD qualification without further teaching qualifications.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon data collected through a structured questionnaire administered to 1,174 Nigerian HE teachers in various disciplines from 39 HE institutions, in addition to two focus groups, the study adopts a mixed-methods research. The quantitative data were analyzed descriptively while qualitatively data were coded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically.

Findings

This article proposes that teachers who undergo PT in addition to obtaining PhD tend to have more PCs and perform better than those that have not undergone any form of PT. Also, it found a statistically significant difference between PCs of HE teachers who have undergone PT in addition to PhD qualification from those without PT. The implication is that teachers who have undergone PT are more effective in facilitating teaching and learning than those who have not completed PT.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the merits of the mixed-methods research, a major limitation of this study is the failure to compare students' achievements or successes based on the two distinct samples. However, the limitations create opportunities for further studies into the subject matter.

Originality/value

This study is timely, given that Nigeria (like many African countries) has a low quality HE system and low graduate outcomes (related to knowledge, employability, and skills). More so, research into pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and practices are rare or nonexistent in the literature related to Nigeria and other African countries' HE system.

Keywords

Citation

Okolie, U.C., Igwe, P.A., Nwajiuba, C.A., Mlanga, S., Binuomote, M.O., Nwosu, H.E. and Ogbaekirigwe, C.O. (2020), "Does PhD qualification improve pedagogical competence? A study on teaching and training in higher education", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 5, pp. 1233-1250. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-02-2019-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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