A Systematic Review of Challenges in Research Supervision at South African Universities

By drkingcosta, 11 January, 2019


Postgraduate students in South Africa and other parts of the world, particularly in developing nations struggle to complete the research component of their studies. According to the National Development Plan ( 2013) it has become a requirement for South African institutions to play a pivotal role in knowledge production so as to transform South Africa from a resource-based economy towards a knowledge-based economy.  In pursuit of meeting this requirement and further to increase subsidy from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), South African institutions of higher learning have been on the drive for recruiting postgraduate students en masse.

One of the main problems facing South African institutions is that the number of students enrolled does not correspond to those who graduate at the end of the postgraduate programme study period.  This study is a systematic review of literature on challenges in postgraduate supervision and further proposes a possible solution.  Five South African institutions of higher learning’s postgraduate throughput data is carefully studied and substantiated by previous research on postgraduate supervision challenges on these particular institutions. Study findings present challenges related to research capacity development and burden of supervision at these institutions.  Collaborative methods of supervision such as the C.O.S.T.A model are hereby proposed as possible solutions to the current throughput problem in South Africa.

Full study available on the following link.




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