Doctoral Enrolments and Graduation in South Africa

Report
Ian Bunting and Charles Sheppard
23February 2012
Graph 1: Doctoral enrolments, doctoral graduates and research publications
Graph 2: Average annual changes: enrolments, graduates and publications
Graph 3: Doctoral enrolments by race group
Graph 4: Percentage of doctoral enrolments in race groupings
Graph 5: Graduation rates and cohort output equivalents
Graph 6: Actual doctoral graduates vs normative totals on National Plan target ratio
Graph 7: Permanent academic staff
Graph 8: Percentage of academic staff with doctorates by institutional category
Graph 9: Ratios of doctoral enrolments to academic staff with doctorates
Graph 10: Government research funding allocations by output category & financial year
Graph 11: Estimates of Rand values of research outputs
Graph 12: Average annual increases in outputs
Graph 13: Total government research output funding per permanent academic
Graph 14: Doctoral and publication output funding per permanent academic (2011/12)
2
Graph 1 sets out data on key elements of SA’s high-level knowledge
production for the period 1996-2010 expressed as doctoral enrolments,
doctoral graduates and research publication units. Average annual changes
in these totals are reflected in Graph 2.
14000
11468
12000
9 800
1 0000
8790
4 000
2 000
Research pubs
7763
8 000
6 000
PhD enrolments
9939
5 622
5528
9 748
6 394
8 003
6483
6660
8 353
5 164
5456
5 936
6 85
761
961
9 69
1 104
1100
1 182
1 421
1996
1998
2000
2 002
2004
2006
2 008
2010
PhD graduates
0
Doctoral enrolments
Doctoral graduates
R esearch publications
3
Graph 2 divides Graph 1 growth rates into the period between (a) 1996 and
2002, which covered the period of the 1997 HE White Paper and the 2001
National Plans, and (b) 2004-2010 which covered the introduction and
implementation of the new 2003 government funding framework.
8.0%
7.0%
6.0%
7.0%
6.6%
6 .0%
5.9%
5 .4%
5.0%
4.5%
4 .3%
4.0%
4.0%
3.0%
2.4%
2.0%
1 .0%
0 .0%
1996-2002
Doctoral enrolments
2004-2010
Doctoral graduates
1996-2010
R esearch publications
4
Graph 3 divides the doctoral enrolment totals for 1996-2010 into race
groupings. The main change has been in African doctoral enrolments, which
increased from 663 in 1996 to 5066 in 2010, when African doctoral
enrolments exceeded that of White enrolments for the first time.
6000
4861
5 000
4486
4 020
4000
3 875
4819
3993
3583
5066
African
White
4 853
4 568
4 022
2 933
3 000
2239
2000
1610
1 053
1000
0
683
197
264
1996
344
256
1998
African
464
3 27
2000
7 68
8 13
774
8 68
419
5 29
585
575
6 81
2 002
2004
2006
2 008
2010
6 19
Coloured
Indian
White
Indian
Coloured
5
Graph 4 shows how the % of doctoral enrolments by race group changed
between 1996 to 2010. African doctoral students rose from 13% in 1996 to
33% in 2004, and 44% in 2010.
9 0%
8 0%
78%
7 0%
62%
55%
6 0%
49%
5 0%
41%
4 0%
33%
13%
13%
12%
10%
2004
2 008
1 0%
0%
42%
African
White
25%
3 0%
2 0%
44%
14%
Coloured+Indian
9%
1996
2 000
African
White
Coloured +Indian
2010
6
Graph 5 offers a first picture of the doctoral output efficiency of
SA’s public HE system, based on output ratios which appear in the
2001 National Plan. The National Plan set this as an output norm:
•
•
The ratio between doctoral graduates in a given year and doctoral
enrolments should = 20%. So, if 10 000 doctoral students were
enrolled in the HE system in year X, then at least 200 of these
students should graduate in year X.
This norm was based on a further target norm that at least 75% of
any cohort of students entering doctoral studies for the first time
in (say) year Y, should eventually graduate. Calculations had shown
that if the cohort output norm was to be achieved, then the 20%
ratio of total graduates to total enrolments would have to be met
over a period of time.
7
Graph 5 shows that, as far as doctoral outputs are concerned, the Public HE
system has failed to meet the National Plan’s efficiency targets. Calculations
show that over the period 1996–2002, less than 50% of students entering
doctoral programmes in SA will eventually graduate.
8 0%
75%
7 0%
6 0%
52%
5 0%
45%
45%
4 0%
3 0%
2 0%
20%
14%
12%
12%
1998-2002
2 002-2006
2006-2008
1 0%
0%
R atio of graduates to enrolments
Cohort graduation equivalent
National target
8
Graph 6 offers estimates of the effects of inefficiencies in SA’s doctoral
programmes. For example, over the period 2005-2010, SA should, on the
National Plan’s norms, have produced a total of 12 285 doctoral graduates
but in fact produced only 7 711, leaving a “shortfall” of 4 739 graduates
(who would have been drop outs from the system).
2005 - 2010
-4 739
Shortfall
-2735 2000 - 2004
2005 - 2010
National Plan target
2000 - 2004
2005 - 2010
Actual graduates produced
-6000
-4000
-2000
2000 - 2004
0
2000
4000
T otal 2005-2010
12285
7 711
7 546
4976
6000
8000
T otal 2000-2004
10000
12000
14000
9
Academic staff with doctoral degrees are a key input for high-level
knowledge production is. Permanent academic staff in this category should
be the major producers of research outputs, and at an input level the main
supervisors of doctoral students. Graph 7 shows how the totals of permanent
academic staff with doctoral degrees changed between 1996 and 2010.
18000
16000
1 4000
1 3449
13098
4647
4658
14184
14673
15423
1 5809
15936
5 146
5403
1 6684
T otal permanent
12000
10000
8 000
6 000
4561
4572
4485
5957
Highest
qualification
PhD
4 000
2 000
0
1 996
1998
2000
2002
Doctorate as highest qualification
2004
2 006
2008
Total permanent
2010
10
Graph 8 divides public HE institutions into the 3 categories used for
national planning purposes, and sub-divides the 11 universities into
a group of 6 which produces 60% of the HE system’s total high-level
knowledge products and the remaining 5. The groups are:
High productive universities
UCT, UKZN, Pretoria, Rhodes,
Stellenbosch, Wits
Other universities
Fort Hare, Free State, Limpopo,
North West, UWC
Comprehensive universities
UJ, NMMU, Unisa, Venda,
WSU, Zululand
Universities of technology
Cape Peninsula, Central, Durban,
Mangosuthu, Tshwane, Vaal DUT
11
Graph 8
60%
50%
40%
45%
36%
48%
41%
29%
2 0%
5%
Other
35%
38%
28%
29%
High productive
44%
40%
36%
30%
10%
44%
27%
7%
8%
2002
2 004
28%
10%
29%
40%
Comprehensive
28%
13%
15%
2008
2010
UoT
0%
2000
High productive universities
Other universities
2 006
Comprehenives
Universities of technology
12
The low proportions permanent academic staff with doctoral degrees
must have an impact on the numbers of doctoral students which can
be enrolled and supervised. Graph 9 shows what the ratios have
been between doctoral enrolments and permanent academic staff
with doctorates.
A ratio of two doctoral enrolments per permanent academic with a
doctorate could be used as an indicator of institutional capacity.
Graph 9 shows that the high productive group of universities and the
comprehensives had ratios above 2 in 2010, which could be taken to
imply that they have reached capacity as far as doctoral enrolments
are concerned. Increases in their doctoral enrolments should depend
on more academic staff obtain their own doctoral degrees.
The 2:1 norm suggests that the other group of 5 universities and the
universities of technology may have spare supervisory capacity, but
their ability to deal with this depends on their current financial and
efficiency levels.
13
Graph 9
2 .5
2 .2
2 .0
1 .7
2 .1
1 .8
1 .5
2.1
1.7
1.7
2.1
2.1 Other
1.7
1 .2
1.0
0.5
1.1
1 .2
High productive
Comprehensive
UoT
1.1
1.2
0 .8
0.0
2 000
High productive universities
2 004
Other universities
2 008
Comprehenives
2 010
Universities of technology
14
Government’s funding incentives for research outputs are complex
because of the 2-year time lag between the completing of an
output and the receipt of a funding allocation, and the weightings
applied to research outputs.
Graph 10 shows what research funding totals were generated by each output
category.
Graph 11 shows what the Rand values can be assigned to research output
units.
15
Graph 10
R 'millions
2500
2225
2000
Total
1837
1540
1500
1000
500
845
474
192
0
1245
1237
179
2004/05
919
489
228
202
2005/06
Publications units
1225
505
265
Pub. units
1 048
1024
652
596
310
343
253
298
282
2006/07
2007/08
2008/09
Research masters grads
796
379
4 14
365
375
2009/10
2010/11
Doctoral graduates
539
461
PhD graduates
Research M grads
2011/12
Total
16
Graph 11
R'000
450
393
400
Per PhD graduate
3 50
2 86
3 00
251
250
200
191
150
1 00
50
87
66
91
82
110
1 02
1 10
134
Per publication unit
Per research M grads
0
2005/06
Per publication unit
2007/08
2009/10
Per research masters graduate
2 011/12
Per doctoral graduate
17
It could be argued that the high Rand values for doctoral graduates
should have functioned as strong incentives to institutions to expand
these outputs. The data in Graph 12 suggest these financial
incentives have not yet affected doctoral graduate growth, which was
3.5% pa between 2000 & 2004, and 3.6% pa between 2005 and
2010.
There are likely to be a number of reasons why doctoral graduate
totals have not yet responded to the output funding incentives
introduced for the first time in the 2004/5 financial year. One
explanation is that only a few universities have been able to benefit
from the introduction of government research output incentives. A
second explanation is that doctoral processes in SA have been
characterised by high levels of inefficiency, as has been seen in
Graphs 5 and 6.
18
Graph 12
6.7%
7.0%
6 .2%
5.8%
6.0%
5.0%
4.4%
4.4%
4 .0%
3.5%
3.6%
3 .0%
2.0%
1.5%
1.0%
0.0%
Publication units
Masters graduates:
Research masters
coursework + research
graduates
2 000-2004
Doctoral graduates
2 005-2010
19
Graph 13 shows that government output funding can be related to staff
capacity. In 2011/12 the high productive university group generated
R290 000 in government research funds per permanent academic, which
was considerably higher than the averages for the other groupings.
R'000
350
290
3 00
High productive
250
2 15
192
200
1 50
135
58
0
Other
94
100
50
130
39
68
46
60
66
Comprehensive
8
13
19
25
2 005/06
2 007/08
2 009/10
2 011/12
High productive universities
Other universities
Comprehenives
UoT
Universities of technology
20
Graph 14 relates doctoral graduate funding to permanent academic
staff, but also compares this doctoral funding to research publication
funding per permanent academic. The graph shows that in 2011/12
the high productive universities group generated R82 000 in doctoral
funding per permanent academic, and R126 000 in research
publications. The amounts are lower, but similar wide differences
can be seen in the other institutional categories.
These lower amounts generated by doctoral graduates could be
related to institutional inefficiencies, but also to institutional
incentives. Some institutions distribute publication output funds to
authors, but few (if any) distribute doctoral graduate funds to
supervisors. Academic staff members are therefore likely to gain
more direct personal benefits from research publications than from
doctoral graduates.
21
Graph 14
R'000
1 40
126
1 20
1 00
82
80
61
60
42
40
40
20
5
5
11
0
High productive
Other universities
Comprehenives
Universities of technology
universities
Doctorates
Publications
22

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