Friday, November 11, 2016

Ministry addresses concern about substandard doctorates

The Ministry of Education and Training said it will shut down substandard doctoral training categories in order to improve the quality of PhDs in Vietnam.
The quality of doctorate training in Vietnam has been questioned for a long time. Early this year, the public raised concern when Hanoi-based Graduate Academy of Social Sciences admitted 350 new PhD students in 2015 and 2016 and 165 students successfully defended their doctoral theses last year.
The average training expenditure for a student in Vietnam is VND15m (USD681) a year while the average cost abroad is some USD15,000.
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga said about 160 facilities had doctoral training courses for 970 different categories. In 2011, they conducted inspections and warned that 101 categories would be shut down if they can't meet requirements.
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga (right)
"We are conducting another inspection and will shut down substandard doctoral training programmes," he said.
At the conference to improve doctoral training programmes on November 11 held by the Ministry of Education and Training, Ga admitted that many facilities were churning out PhD degree holders without caring about the quality.
He said students wanting PhD degrees mostly to earn promotion, should be first to blame. Secondly, most instructors don't have any scientific research and the facilities also don't meet required standards to open the programme.
In addition, current regulations are also out of date and cause difficulties for education facilities to raise funds to improve their programmes.
Nguyen Dinh Duc from Vietnam National University in Hanoi emphasised that Vietnam had had great achievements ever since it started inland doctoral training programme in 1976. However, recently, many theses proved to be low quality. Duc said Vietnam must tighten the enrolment as well as the quality of instructors.
Tran Van Nhung, general secretary of the National Committee on Professorship Titles, said only when the quality of PhD holders were improved would they have high quality professors. Nhung urged the government to issue a clear definition of a Doctor of Philosophy to define the criteria.
Tran Van Nhung, general secretary of the National Committee on Professorship Titles (right)
He went on to say they don't need too many doctors of philosophy but all of them must have completed their own work and research papers.
Other experts agreed that they should give priority to students who learn for knowledge, are more fluent in foreign languages or already have some research. Moreover, the quality of the theses must be up to international standards.
Nguyen Dinh Duc, head of the training board of Vietnam National University in Hanoi said, "If excellent doctors of philosophy and professors are given priorities and satisfactory treatments, it will create healthy competition and improve the quality of the doctors."
By Hong Hanh 


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