A comprehensive strategy to massively increase the number of PhD and post-doctoral graduates in South Africa, given the pivotal role they play in the country’s socio-economic development, needs to be given urgent attention.

This was the view of the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, at an event where he received the first national tracer study of doctoral graduates in South Africa, also known as the PhD Tracer Study.

“The correlation between the weighted number of PhDs – as in the number of PhDs per million of the population – and the country’s economic and innovation performance is well established globally,” he said.

Urging his team to find ways to increase the number of PhD and post-doctoral candidates, Dr Nzimande (above) said their single biggest ally in this is the President himself. “Increasing the number of PhDs has many positive outcomes in terms of our National System of Innovation and the quality of teaching staff in universities. This Tracer Study provides a knowledge base of what is happening.”