The Council on Higher Education is confident that the review of doctoral qualifications will not only be of the highest academic quality, but will also be of scholarly benefit.
On 10 February 2020, Daily Maverick published an op-ed by Emeritus Professor Ken Harley, who raises what he calls "worrying trends" in the Council on Higher Education's (CHE) impending national review of doctoral qualifications awarded in South Africa. He bases his argument on selected aspects of three recently published council documents: the Qualification Standard for Doctoral Degrees; the Manual for National Review of Doctoral Qualifications, and the Self-Evaluation Report (SER) template for institutional response.
His article includes fleeting references to some major conceptual issues relating to the nature of research associated with doctoral studies and their implications for quality, issues that call for a more complex discussion than the length of this article allows. What follows are brief responses to the views he expresses that are of the greatest significance to the council's approach, through the national review, to addressing its mandate of monitoring quality assurance in higher education.
On the role of the National Research Foundation (NRF):
It is true that the NRF has a vested interest in the outcome,...