VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has set up an ambitious plan to have 20,000 PhDs by 2020. However, it will have to go a very thorny path to reach that end.
The requirements that cannot be satisfied
An overseas student in the UK said that the first document that candidates have to show when applying for following training courses for doctorate is the social insurance book, calling this a rigid regulation.
Under the current regulations, one just needs to have 6-month experience in this work to be eligible for applying for studying. However, the problem is that newly recruited lecturers always have to experience a 2-year probation period, while he cannot pay social insurance for the first year of working.
This means that newly recruited lecturers only have the opportunities to apply for joining training courses in Vietnam for doctorate after two years of working. In case they fail the exams to attend the training courses, this means that they cannot fulfill the task and they will have to resign.
The overseas student said that the rigid regulation could be the barrier that prevents people from approaching to the training courses for master degree.
The Ministry of Education and Training MOET is running Program 322, under which Vietnamese students are sent abroad to follow training courses under the financial support from the state budget. However, a lot of students complain that they meet too many difficulties during the studying period due to the tardiness of relevant ministries and branches.
Overseas students in China, for example, complain that the stipends always come very slowly, and they usually have to live and study without stipends for many consecutive months. Meanwhile, everything gets more expensive and they have to spend more and more money on basic needs and studying costs.
As students pay tuitions late, they usually have to pay fine. Especially, in many cases, they could not attend semester-end examinations. A lot of students even had to ask for the intervention of professor to be able to keep studying. The students were told that procedures were completed, but there was no money to be disbursed.
The students, who have left for Soton in the UK to attend a training course under the Program 322, have said that MOET does not advance stipends to them, and that they would get the stipends only when they finish the English course and fulfill the admission procedures, then send reports to MOET.
However, the problem is that all procedures were completed at the end of September 2011, but it is now still unclear when they will get the stipends.
MOET determined to say “no” to “achievement disease”
Dang Kim Vui, Director of Thai Nguyen University, said that the number of people going studying abroad under the Program 322 remains modest, because people themselves are not well prepared in English skills to meet the requirements of the training courses. That explains why the program cannot find enough candidates every year.
At present, the program is being run by MOET. However, Vui thinks that it would be better to decentralize to schools in order to better program the training.
An official of MOET has warned that if the 20,000 PhD program cannot be managed well, Vietnam would suffer from the “achievement disease”, i.e. that Vietnam may have a lot of PhD and masters, but the doctors and masters do not have high qualifications as expected.
Vui said that alarm bell has been rung over the quality of the PhD and masters trained in Vietnam. A lot of PhDs and masters have been found as “purchasing degrees” or plagiarizing theses of colleagues.
Experts have also warned that a lot of PhD and masters do not return to Vietnam as they promise when receiving the scholarships for studying. An overseas student in Australia said 30 percent of students do not plan to return to Vietnam after they finish the training courses funded by the State.
Source: Tien phong