NWU committed towards growing its own academic timber

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 06/14/2017 - 08:59

NWU committed towards growing its own academic timber

“The North-West University (NWU) is committed to producing professionals to assume advanced careers within academia. Our postgraduate students will be the research leaders, faculty, and professional practitioners of tomorrow and as such the stewards of the university’s ethos of innovative learning and teaching and cutting-edge research.”

This is according to Prof Linda du Plessis, acting rector of the NWU’s campus in Vanderbijpark, during her welcoming address at the meeting of the vice-chancellor, Prof Dan Kgwadi, with members of the campus’s postgraduate fraternity. During the meeting Prof Kgwadi discussed the NWU’s strategy and consequent implementation thereof with master’s and PhD students.

Prof du Plessis said that postgraduate students represent the greatest concentration of future human capital within the institution, as well as the largest investment of the university’s academic resources. She stated that by the year 2025 the NWU would have lost no less than 350 academic staff members to retirement. According to Prof Du Plessis this is a general challenge within the higher education sector in South Africa, and as such postgraduate students represent the upcoming generation of lecturers and researchers.

She furthermore applauded the students for pursuing their postgraduate studies. “There are many ways to distinguish yourself, but to pursue postgraduate studies is probable the best long-term investment you can ever make.” To illustrate this statement, Prof Du Plessis compared South Africa’s number of doctoral graduates (as per million of the population) to that of several other countries:

  • South Africa: 23 per million
  • Brazil: 43 per million
  • South Korea: 157 per million
  • Australia: 264 per million
  • Portugal: 569 per million

“From these statistics it is clear that a postgraduate degree strengthens your competitiveness as a graduate in a specialised job market. There is a clear association between the level of education and employment, as well as salary. With job roles becoming increasingly complex, higher levels of skills and qualifications are needed, especially if job candidates are seeking a competitive edge over those with only undergraduate qualifications.”

In closing Prof Du Plessis quoted Malcolm X: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”