VietNamNet Bridge – A lot of Vietnamese people spend considerable sums to study in programs organized in Vietnam with foreign universities and colleges. Then, they discover that these schools are not recognized at home or internationally. These “degree mill” programs are proliferating throughout the country.
Though co-op programs with foreign unis boom, quality is often low
Joint training programmes booming
International training programs lack clear credentials
FTU and LaviEdu signs cooperation agreement (Photo: Sara Vietnam's website)
Joint training programs between Vietnamese educational institutions and foreign partners have generally been viewed as a good idea, expanding quickly to meet the increasingly high demand from Vietnamese people.
The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has licensed 112 joint training programs in Vietnam, but there are many other unregistered programs. To the surprise of many, these unlicensed collaborations still draw in people, who spend thousands of dollars on unrecognized degrees.
Worthless US degree
On the homepage of the Sara Vietnam Joint Stock Company, the owner of LaviEdu School, the following statement is offered: “At 2 pm of March 17, 2010, the opening of the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program took place at the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). This is an online training program for students in Vietnam and some Asian countries. Students will receive a Master’s degree from Frederick Taylor (FTU) in the U.S.”
The bulletin went on to claim that LaviEdu has been the leader in distance learning and international training, and that it has gained many achievements in education.
As such, the opening ceremony took place in a grand way at MOET. Tuoi Tre suggests, however, that the most impressive aspect of this event is that FTU, the American partner university, is not even accredited in the US.
Though the program did not get a license from MOET and its foreign partner is unaccredited, Sara Vietnam and LaviEdu still launched blaring ad campaigns. Their distance learning classes opened in Vietnam and Sara is also organizing courses with the ‘LaviEdu’ name in Laos.
To date, the courses have enrolled hundreds, including provincial authorities and business managers who want to obtain a degree.
Because these courses do not require students to know English, Tuoi Tre discovered, they have become very popular. Many people are ready to pay $3500 to obtain an American MBA if they don’t need to study English.
This is just one example. Many other unlicensed and unaccredited collaborations like that between LaviEdu and FTU have hit the education market. Generally, Vietnamese partners are not universities or colleges, but centres, businesses and social organizations with no right to organise university studies. The organizations instead enroll students and organise courses, while the foreign partners take the responsibility for curricula and degrees.
Beware ambiguous information
Nguyen Xuan Vang, Director of the Vietnam International Education Development Department under MOET, has advised those who want to join such a program to investigate the program’s credentials.
Still, more and more unlicensed programs pop up daily and their ads are carried by the mass media. They also have begun luring more students by mentioning the involvement of MOET.
Nineteen training courses under the MBA program through the International Cooperation Training Centre under the Vietnam Study Encouragement Society, where the Columbia Southern University trains and awards degrees, have been organized. This center emphasizes that they obtained MOET’s approval, citing Document No. 8621/GDTX dated September 27, 2002.
In fact, MOET released a document in 2002 to allow centres to develop distance learning programs. At that time, there were no legal documents on foreign education establishments in Vietnam. Only in 2005 were important laws issued to regulate the practice. Since then, many new laws have also come into effect.
The problem here is that this centre continues to rely on a 2002 document, one which does not come in line with newer regulations.
In September 2009, British University Vietnam was established as a private-run university. The school has enrolled students for the joint training programs with Staffordshire University and London University. However, to date, according to the Vietnam International Education Development Department, the British University Vietnam still cannot meet all the requirements for a license.
Now, many disgruntled alumni and educators are asking how these programs cannot meet current regulations, but still exist to hand out worthless degrees?
Source: Tuoi tre
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