Survey Unveils Troubling Drop in Doctoral Candidates’ Graduation Rate in SA

According to a recent survey conducted in South Africa, there has been a troubling drop in the graduation rate of doctoral candidates. The findings of the survey reveal a significant decline in the number of doctoral students successfully completing their studies, raising concerns about the state of higher education in the country.


Doctoral programs are crucial for advancing knowledge, research, and innovation within various academic fields. They contribute significantly to the intellectual and economic growth of a nation. Therefore, a decline in the number of doctoral graduates is a matter of serious concern as it may impact the overall progress and development of the country.

Several factors could be contributing to this concerning trend. These may include financial constraints faced by students, lack of access to research funding, limited availability of academic resources, or challenges in supervisory support for doctoral candidates. Additionally, the survey may have identified issues related to the quality and relevance of doctoral programs, which could lead to a lack of interest among potential candidates.

Addressing this issue is of paramount importance. To reverse the declining trend in doctoral graduation rates, policymakers, educational institutions, and stakeholders need to collaborate on implementing effective solutions. This might involve increasing funding opportunities and scholarships for doctoral students, enhancing research infrastructure, providing more comprehensive mentorship and support for candidates, and continually evaluating and improving the doctoral programs to meet the evolving needs of the academic and industrial sectors.

Furthermore, encouraging a research-oriented culture in academic institutions and promoting collaboration between universities, research centers, and industries can help foster a conducive environment for doctoral studies. This, in turn, can attract more students to pursue advanced research degrees, contributing to the development of South Africa’s knowledge economy.


It is essential that the findings of this survey act as a wake-up call to address the challenges faced by doctoral candidates. By taking proactive measures, South Africa can revitalize its higher education landscape, nurture a thriving research community, and pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.

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