A PhD at 27, Dr. Njoki Maina rejected a position in Harvard to Move to teach in University of Nairobi. In an interview with Standard, she tells her story.

What are the consequences of a developing country not investing in research?

You become consumers rather than producers of solutions to your problems, so you are forever importing solutions that were not designed for your problems. Sadly, this is not for the want of brilliant scientific minds, but rather systems that don’t appreciate and encourage home-grown solutions. That is why African researchers and problem solvers move to (countries) where their intellect is appreciated.

Is it possible to be a doctor of philosophy without a philosophy?

A PhD who can’t philosophise is a glorified technician whose education was a waste of public resources. They are of no value because they can’t help identify and mitigate problems in society.

You interact with first-year university science students. What have you learnt?

UoN picks the absolute cream, but one thing is evident year in year out: Our students, though exceptional, are not lateral thinkers. The spoon-feeding in high school needs to stop so that we prepare students for life. Rote learning is the worst form of mind control. Students expect to be fed all information, and they then become glorified photocopying machines who can’t apply abstract science in real life. It is such a waste of talent.

More of her interview here.

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