The PhD and the degree structure of South African higher education
While the PhD has come to be generally known as the highest qualification offered in higher education it by no means always has the same connotation or a universal significance. Depending on the historical trajectory and degree structure of the higher education system concerned the PhD can radically differ in content, status and function. Current higher education policy imperatives calling for a drastic increase in the overall production of the number of PhDs in South Africa will be dangerously misconceived unless serious prior consideration is given to the nature and function of the PhD degree. A substantial increase in the number of current South African PhDs by research dissertation only will most certainly not satisfy either the urgent needs for upgrading the ‘academic’ sector itself or the demands of the economy and society for an increased number of advanced graduates with a ‘general’ knowledge base and transferable intellectual skills.