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Modest level of research: weakness of Vietnam’s universities

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Despite the sharp increase in the numbers of professors and associate professors, and lecturers with master degrees and doctorates, no Vietnamese university is included in international university rankings.

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Students of Duy Tan University

 

The Science, Education and Environment Advisory Council, at a recent conference on post-graduate training and talent development, pointed out a number of problems in higher education and academic research. 

While the number of research works is high, the quality is low and the results cannot be applied in real life. The number of internationally published articles remains modest, especially in social sciences.

Ta Thanh Van from the Hanoi Medical University commented that postgraduate training in Vietnam is not linked to research. Universities are not the cradle of science and technology. These inadequacies have resulted in the low quality of doctoral and master candidates.

The number of candidates meeting standards in 2017 alone was 1/10 of the total number of professors/associate professors in the last 35 years.

A report about non-state owned universities released by a team of specialists headed by Pham Thi Huyen in mid-2017 showed that nearly half of the schools were not paying attention to research. 

Fifty-one schools never implemented any research project at the state level, while 26 schools never funded any research work. 

The team also found that 34 schools did not have any academic research articles published in Vietnam.

A survey of research capacity of non-state owned universities’ lecturers in HCMC by Nguyen Trong Tuan from Nguyen Tat Thanh University found that more than 1/5 of lecturers admitted they had not done academic research in the last five years. 

The survey was conducted in 2013 of 120 lecturers from Van Hien, Hoa Sen and Hong Bang universities. Fewer than 50 percent of non-state owned schools’ lecturers said they implemented research regularly, very regularly or occasionally.

The figures matched the finding that 120 lecturers implemented two research projects at the ministerial level, 22 projects at the grassroots level, and one at the provincial level.

Tuan also found that while the polled lecturers believe they had ‘moderately good capability for research’, their interest in research was at an ‘average level’.

The low interest is attributed to management policies which force them to spend a lot of time on lecturing and other work. Complicated administrative procedures, discouragement from schools, and unclear policies have also been cited as contributing factors.

Bach Long Giang from Nguyen Tat Thanh University stressed that conducting research needs to be mandatory. “If universities only pay attention to training, they won’t exist for a long time,” he said.

 

 

Source: VietNamNet

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