Vietnam strives to improve quality of higher education
Dr. Bui Anh Tuan, Director of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)`s Higher Education Department, said in a recent interview that Vietnam has a target of training 20,000 doctorates by 2020 in hopes of improving the higher educational system.
Tuan has said that only 10% of lecturers at universities and colleges across the country have finished doctoral training.
Project 911 sets a target to train 20,000 doctorates by 2020. What is the reasoning behind this policy?
Teaching staff play an important role in the renovation of our system as a whole, as well as improvement of the quality of tertiary education.
A recent report made by the MoET showed that the number of lecturers at universities and colleges nationwide between 2012 and 2013 showed a 6% increase from the year earlier. The number of lecturers with professorship increased by 29% and those who had associate professorships increased by 28%, those with doctorate degrees increased by 4%.
These figures prove that the number of lecturers with doctorate degrees still modest, accounting for only 10% of total lecturers involved in higher education. So, it’s necessary to provide them with further training to improve the quality of the teaching staff.
Project 911 is one among a number of government plans to heighten the quality of education and improve the institutions involved in delivering it.
Researchers have said that Vietnam has the largest number of people with doctorates in the Southeast Asian region, however Thailand surpasses Vietnam in scientific research. If this is true, why would the MoET focus on increasing the number of doctoral degrees by 20,000?
Like I said, the number of lecturers with doctoral tiles represent around 10% of the total lecturers. The figure is much lower than the demands of universities and colleges. Project 911 is aimed at improving the quality of our teachers.
Doctoral training can take any of three forms: Training abroad, domestic training and partnership training. The move is aimed at helping domestic institutions get access to, make comparisons with and learn from experiences of other systems around the world. If we can achieve this we can perhaps improve the quality of scientific research at home.
It is well known that there has been fraud in the system including fake PhDs and students hiring others to take classes for them. Do you think that Project 911 focuses too much on quantity and not enough on quality?
I do think that there are a few cases of falsified PhD theses and hiring people to attend doctorate training courses. Several strict measures have been taken recently to clamp down on such things.
Project 911 was created based a very real demand in the education system. We should not be pessimistic and undervalue the project. In addition, improving professionalism is among teachers’ responsibilities and obligations.
Deputy Prime Minister, Vu Duc Dam, recently said in order to renovate the national education system, it would be necessary for the MoET to renovate itself. How does the ministry perceive such directive? Do you think that paying too much attention to results is a major obstacle to the education renovation?
I think the Deputy Prime Minister’s directive is correct.
Renovation must be comprehensive on all levels and extend to all branches. Every individual involved in the education and training system and the MoET should be a pioneer in the process.
The MoET has made considerable progresses in state management over higher education, including empowering several institutions to make recruitment, financial and training decisions on their own. However, autonomy must be linked to accountability and we need a proper road map for implementation.
In its report delivered at a year-end ceremony, the MoET took a sober look its strengths and weaknesses in terms of graduate education. The ministry has always been open to new ideas from managers, teachers, students and the public so as to to improve efficiency and work out more effective policies.
Thank you very much!
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