Zuze wins top PhD prize

14 December 2009

Dr Tia Linda ZuzeTop class: Dr Tia Linda Zuze.

The Council of the Economic Society of South Africa has awarded Dr Tia Linda Zuze, a research affiliate of the South African Labour and Development Research Unit at UCT, the 2009 Founders' Medal for a PhD dissertation in recognition of her excellent research thesis, Equity and Effectiveness in East African Primary Schools.

Her PhD work, undertaken as a Graduate Associate in SALDRU, was enabled by a Spencer Foundation Scholarship awarded through the School of Education at UCT. She is currently working at the University of Witwatersrand.

Zuze said she was honoured that her thesis was judged not only the top PhD thesis in the School of Economics at UCT in 2008, but also emerged victorious from a strong pool of candidates from economics departments across the country.

"I'm honoured to receive this award. It's a real tribute to the excellent academic support that I received while at UCT. Writing a thesis is always a challenge but I feel that through this process, I've grown as a researcher. I'm still passionate about finding ways to make education and training fairer and more relevant for young people in Africa. So perhaps this is a first step in a longer journey."

Her supervisor, Professor Murray Leibbrandt, added: "It's a model of the kind of rigorous, evidence-based policy research through which SALDRU and many in the School of Economics make their contribution to South Africa and our continent."

Her thesis had drawn praise from three prominent international examiners. One examiner with extensive experience of educational research in South Africa and the rest of Africa wrote: "I have to say that this is indeed a remarkable piece of work. I have read a good bit of educational research produced by South African scholars, and this work shows a degree of methodological sophistication and engagement with the literature that is unusual and I would say surpasses that of even full professors carrying out research on education in South Africa."

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