Higher education's Naledi Pandor caps string of qualifications with doctorate

Higher education minister Naledi Pandor has graduated with a doctorate from the University of Pretoria.
Higher education minister Naledi Pandor has graduated with a doctorate from the University of Pretoria.
Image: Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali

Naledi Pandor queued with other students, waiting in line to defend her thesis proposal and deferred to her professor even though she had previously been his boss.

Now she has lived up to her portfolio as higher education minister by graduating with a doctorate from the University of Pretoria, in the latest of a string of qualifications behind her name.

The official announcement is expected at 3pm but her well-wishers have already taken to social media to congratulate her over her PhD in Education, which saw her delve into transformation in higher education.

Ahead of the academic celebrations, the minister is on Tuesday releasing two reports regarding the performance of the post-school education and training system in SA.

Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, originally from Durban, was appointed as the minister of education in 2004 before leading the science and technology and home affairs portfolios, then returning as the minister of higher education and training from February 2018.

She has been an MP since 1994 and a member of the national executive committee of the ANC since 2002.

Pandor's official CV states that she matriculated at Gaborone Secondary School in Botswana in 1972.

She holds a master's degree in general linguistics from the University of Stellenbosch (1997); a bachelor's degree and certificate for continuing education from the University of Botswana and Swaziland (obtained between 1973 and 1977); a diploma in education from the University of London obtained between 1977 and 1978; a diploma in higher education, administration and leadership from Bryn Mawr Summer School in 1992; and a diploma in leadership in development from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, obtained in 1997.

Her career prior to her official political posts include serving as a teacher at Ernest Bevin School in London in 1980, a teacher in Gaborone from 1981 to 1984, and a lecturer at the Taung College of Education in North West from 1984 to 1986.

Between 1986 and 1989, Pandor was a senior lecturer in English at the University of Bophuthatswana and from 1989 to 1994, she was a senior lecturer in the academic support programme of the University of Cape Town.

She also served as chancellor of Cape Technikon between 2002 and 2004; and she was a member of the council of the University of Fort Hare during the same period.