VietNamNet Bridge – Professor Dao Trong Thi, Chair of the National Assembly’s Culture, Education, the Youth and Children Committee, when talking about the current problem that university lecturers only spend their time teaching to earn money and ignore research obligations, said that it is necessary to change the current structure and expectations of management, saying that a good management will encourage lecturers to conduct scientific research.
As reported by several sources, university lecturers are “lazy” when conducting scientific research and they only focus on teaching to earn money. The “laziness” has been blamed on the current mechanism on allocating a budget for research projects. What do you think about this?
It is true that there are many problems. The sum of money allocated for each project is small and it is difficult to use this money because of the complicated procedures. The money is allocated equally to many projects and this allocation of the budget is clearly unreasonable.
However, I think that in order to create a driving force for university lecturers to engage in research, the key here is not to pour more money into the projects, but consider how to manage and use the money.
We should not keep the principle of dividing money equally to different projects and to different fields and manage the money according to the names of the projects. In order to encourage university lecturers to spend more time researching, it is necessary to awake their passion for research by applying a disinterested management mechanism which gives fair judgments.
University lecturers frankly said that no one can conduct research with short funds. Do you think that we should concentrate our investments in some key projects instead of spreading money on all proposed projects?
With little money,research will not bring highly effective. I believe that we will only have high quality research if we have enough money. However, I have to say that besides money, we must have other regulations which allow us to manage scientific research well.
Regarding spreading investments, people believe this is an ineffective managment and needs to stop. However, as I said above, conducting research does not always require much money. There are key scientific research works which need huge sums of money. Meanwhile, there are other research works which just need tens of millions of dong to be conducted. Especially, there are works which do not require experiments. For these works, just seven million dong is enough.
What I want to emphasize is that the key is not how “much more or much less” money, but instead “enough or not enough”. Scientific research projects will certainly fail if they need experiments because there is no money to buy materials for experiments.
I know there are the projects that have estimates of 200 million dong. However, only 100 million dong was allocated. It was clearly impossible to carry out a project with such a modest sum of money. However, researchers still accepted to implement the project. As the result, instead of researching in laboratories, they just researched in their “imagination”. In this case, the scientific research work did not bring any thing. And the 100 million dong allocated was a big waste.
It is necessary to consider how much money we have in our pockets and consider how many projects can be implemented with this sum of money. If we do not have much money, but we still try to give money to all projects, the money will be a waste.
Are there any other measures you think can be applied to encourage university lecturers to spend more time researching?
An important solution, I think, is to consider scientific research as a factor to assess the capability of lecturers, to find out if they deserve to be promoted, and get professorship.
In other countries, if someone does not conduct research and does not have a doctorate degree, he will not be allowed to teach at universities. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, such strict regulations are not applied.
When I worked at the Hanoi National University, only the people who had a doctorate degree could sign a long term labor contract with the university. If not, they only could sign short term labor contracts.
My viewpoint is that it is necessary to apply a reasonable mechanism which encourages lecturers to strive and be promoted. And in order to get promotion, they have to make scientific research. Currently, we assess the capability of lecturers by only considering their teaching hours.
Source: Nguoi lao dong