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Doctoral Education in South Africa

Worldwide, in Africa and in South Africa, the importance of the doctorate has increased disproportionately in relation to its share of the overall graduate output over the last decade. This heightened attention has not only been concerned with the traditional role of the PhD, namely the provision of a future supply of academics. Rather, it has focused on the increasingly important role that higher education – particularly high-level skills – is perceived to play in national development and the knowledge economy.

This book is unique in the area of research into doctoral studies because it draws on a large number of studies conducted by the Centre of Higher Education Trust (CHET) and the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) over the past decade. In addition to these historical studies, new quantitative and qualitative research was undertaken to produce the evidence base for the anbalyses presented in the book. The studies focused on a range of issues related to the growth, efficiency, quality and transformation of doctoral education, doctoral supervision, doctoral tracer studies as well as drawing on studies from the rest of Africa and the world.

The book makes recommendations about strengthening traditional doctoral education, and proposes a paradigm shift. It concludes by raising three policy issues: reaching the National Development Plan 2030 target of 5 000 graduates per annum, South Africa as a PhD hub for Africa and differentiation among different groups of doctorate-producing institutions.