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Are university accreditation results credible?

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A representative of a school says the accreditation of higher education establishments in Vietnam is unconvincing as many bad schools can meet the standards.

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MOET has set up four accreditation centers

 

A recent report found that more than 50 universities have been accredited and recognized as meeting standards. But many others are reluctant to have their schools accredited.

An analyst said that with accreditation continuing at the current pace, no one knows when Vietnam will fulfill the plan on accrediting 271 schools.

However, Le Viet Khuyen, former deputy director of the Higher Education Department under the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), said if Vietnam tried to accredit all schools within a short time, the accreditation quality would not be trustworthy.

To accredit higher education establishments, MOET has set up four accreditation centers. Unlike other countries, where schools are accredited by independent organizations which use their own accreditation criteria, the four centers use one set of criteria.

Of the four centers, three belong to universities and one belongs to the Association of Universities and Junior Colleges. This means that the centers are not ‘independent’ and don’t make ‘independent decisions’.

Meanwhile, according to Khuyen, independence must be the optimal principle of accreditation centers. And the centers must be put under state management and supervision to be sure they strictly observe the required procedures in accrediting schools.

He said MOET needs to reassess the centers. As ‘everything remains unclear’, many schools have hesitated to be accredited. MOET should also name prestigious accreditation centers for schools’ consideration, he added.

Le Truong Tung, president of FPT University, said many schools don’t want to be accredited by domestic centers because they fear that important information, such as financial capability, or number of students and lecturers, will leak out if the accreditation centers belong to other universities.

He also warned that if the accredited schools have poor relations with accrediting schools, the results will be not objective. 

Moreover, accreditation centers cannot give advice to accredited schools about what to do to improve training quality, because they are just divisions of other schools.

Therefore, many schools rejected domestic accreditation centers and chose foreign ones. These include the Hanoi University of Science & Technology, the Da Nang University of Science & Technology, HCMC University of Science & Technology and the University of Civil Engineering.

A representative of Ton Duc Thang University said the school does not have confidence in the accreditation method set by MOET. 

Tung said that all accredited schools can satisfy standards because the accreditation criteria set by MOET are suited for training establishments using the old style, not the modern style. 

“You cannot count the number of books at libraries to conclude if libraries work effectively, but you need to find out how the books are used,” he said.

 

Source: Tien Phong - VietNamNet

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