Original title: How to think about the postponement of doctoral graduation
Meng Wei, a doctoral student at Zhejiang University, has attracted attention on the Internet because of his part-time food delivery to make a living. Meng Wei is a doctoral student of the School of Control Science and Engineering of Zhejiang University. He was once a “Top Ten College Student” of Zhejiang University. He was recommended for a direct doctoral degree in September 2014. Meng Wei said, “This is by no means only me. It is very difficult for our group to go to society.” As he said, there are not many doctors who deliver food, but there are many who postpone their graduation. Compared with food delivery, the topic of “doing a doctorate for 8 years and not graduating” may be more worthy of attention.
In recent years, the deferred graduation rate of Chinese doctoral students has continued to rise, and deferred graduation has gradually become normalized. According to the “2020 National Postgraduate Enrollment Survey Report” released by China Education Online, the postgraduate graduation rate of doctoral students in 2003 was about 46.5%, and it continued to rise after the graduation rate exceeded 60% in 2012. 64%, indicating that more than 60% of the doctoral students could not graduate on time.
Why are there so many doctoral students deferring their graduation? Failure to meet graduation requirements is the main reason. my country’s postgraduate training once emphasized “strict entry and lenient exit”. Once you get on the single-plank bridge, you can basically get a degree certificate. Nowadays, colleges and universities have raised the threshold for doctoral graduation, and they are no longer granted graduation as long as they are admitted. In 2019, Shi Yigong, president of Westlake University, once said: “The 334 doctoral students of Westlake University will not be limited by their graduation years.” This remark once caused heated discussions. The postponement of graduation brought about by “strict entry and strict exit” has positive significance for improving the quality of doctoral students. From this point of view, the large increase in the number of postgraduate doctoral students graduating in my country is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be said that the doctoral training model has taken a big step forward.
However, postponing graduation is not a panacea for solving all problems. How to improve scientific research and innovation capabilities within a limited time is the “kingly way”. First, postponing graduation means more investment in educational resources; secondly, simply extending the academic system is not the only way to improve the quality of doctoral training. If you just extend the academic system and do not focus on scientific research, it will still lead to repeated failure of the paper. Due to the pressure of life, some doctoral students will spend a lot of time on part-time jobs and job hunting, just like Meng Wei in the above news. Therefore, for postgraduates who are not suitable for continuing to study for a degree, early diversion should be implemented. Instead of waiting until you are about to graduate and facing the passive, it is better to plan early and clarify your academic and career prospects.
At the same time, we must also put an end to the phenomenon of being forced to postpone graduation when we could graduate on time. In reality, there are indeed some tutors who force doctoral students who have already met the graduation standards to postpone their graduation in order to allow the postgraduates to “serve” them for a long time. In this regard, universities and other scientific research institutions should strengthen the supervision and investigation mechanism for the irregular behavior of supervisors in the process of cultivating graduate students.
Doctoral education undertakes the mission of cultivating high-level innovative talents and is an important manifestation of the country’s core competitiveness. As the “spire” of academic education, a doctorate should not be “easy”. How to ensure the training quality of doctoral students and improve their scientific research innovation ability is the key to solving the problem. (Chen Jinhong）