Departmental Bulletin Paper Values and Purposes of a PhD : Comparative responses from South Africa and Mauritius

Michael Anthony Samuel,

13pp.1 - 23 , 2016-03 , Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University
This paper compares the motivations of two developing countries, South Africa and Mauritius, in promoting doctoral education. Both are concerned about addressing their underproduction of PhDs, but is this focus a luxury in the face of prevalent societal issues, e.g., the HIV/AIDS pandemic, crime and unemployment in South Africa? Are PhDs resolving post-apartheid societal problems? Is their pursuit primarily about developing a competitive advantage? In Mauritius, alignment of the state agenda and the higher education system provides pragmatic interventions to establish itself as the knowledge hub of the Indian Ocean islands. However, the philosophically-driven PhD infuses potentially a critical disruption of “comfortable collaborations” with the state agenda. So what is the worth of a PhD, especially in the field of education? This paper suggests that the value of an educational PhD in developing world contexts has both enabling and constraining potential: to personal, institutional, social and nationalistic agendas.

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