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Is it time to end the State Professorship Council’s mission?

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When universities in Vietnam obtain the right to grant professor and associate professor titles as in other developed countries, the State Professorship Council will have no reason to continue to exist, analysts say.

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Dr Dam Quang Minh

 

Vietnam does not follow international practice in awarding the title of professor or associate professor to educators. 

According to international practice, a professorship is a title for those who work in scientific institutions or research universities. Professors are primarily responsible for the development directions of a certain discipline at the institutions. And the number of professors depends on society’s demand.

In Vietnam, a professor or associate professor title is considered a position in an organization, used to glorify someone for his achievements and dedications. 

Vietnam gives the title to honor a person, not to assign someone to do research or lecture. The appointment is made by the State and does not come from demand from universities or research institutes.

There is no limitation on the number of professors or associate professors. Nearly all the people meeting the standards will get the title. 

To obtain the title, one must meet many requirements, which, as described by Dr Dam Quang Minh, who was appointed rector of FPT University at the age of 35, are both difficult and easy.

The requirements are difficult because candidates must have published books and scientific research works at the national level. “These strict requirements are not set even in countries with advanced sciences,” Minh said.

Because of complicated procedures, it is very costly to consider the profiles of candidates. Prestigious scientists and members of professorship sub-committee have to spend a lot of time to read and analyze documents before making decisions. 

The process is even more complicated than procedures for appointing university rectors, who have more influence than professors in setting research orientation.

However, the existence of the strict requirements cannot ensure the high quality of professors and associate professors. 

Despite the high number of professors, Vietnam’s achievements in scientific research remains modest, while Vietnamese universities are not listed in regional and global rankings of prestigious universities.

In some workplaces, people with the title of professor and associate professor have few research and training projects, while in education units, there are not enough professors and associate professors to teach. 

“Give professors and associate professors back to universities and research institutes, where they can undertake their real jobs,” Minh said.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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