Oct 25, 2012

Vietnam - Vietnam has many PhDs, but little grey matter

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VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam takes pride of the higher number of PhDs than any other ASEAN country, but its number of scientific research works published on international journals remains modest.

With more than 9000 professors and associate professors, hundreds of thousands of PhDs and numerous masters, Vietnam is a power in the world in terms of the number of scientific titles.

However, according to Dan Viet newspaper, in 2006-2010, Vietnamese only had five patents registered in the US. In 2011, the patents registered in the US did not include any one from Vietnam, even though the number of professors and doctors has been increasing rapidly.

Explaining the modest number of recognized scientific research works, the Ministry of Science and Technology has attributed to the modest budget the State allocates to scientific research projects.

At the same time when the ministry’s officials complaint about the lack of money for scientific research, a local newspaper published a story about Nguyen Kim Chinh, a farmer in Binh Dinh province, who has invented a peanut threshing machine which never existed before Vietnam.

The machine was created by a farmer, who just finished the seventh grade in the current national educational system. Prior to that, he invented a harvester, and 200 products have been sold to foreign clients.

It’s obvious that the farmer has less money and has lower grade than the 9000 professors and PhDs. However, he still can invent the things useful for people’s lives, while the scientists cannot.

The problem is that the scientists spend their time to teach at extra classes or take some other extra jobs to earn their living.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has been determined to produce more PhDs and professors with an aim to improve the science and technology development. The Ministry of Education and Training has vowed to have 20,000 more PhDs in some years in accordance with a plan estimated to cost 14 trillion dong.

According to the National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee, Vietnam now has 50,000 scientists working at 1100 institutes and academies. However, farmers cannot expect the machines for agricultural production from them.

Especially, the industries of the country with the highest number of PhDs and masters in ASEAN even cannot make a screw meeting Canon’s standards.

According to Pham Bich San, Secretary General of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associates VUSTA, the number of the scientific research articles published internationally by Vietnamese scientists, who come from a country with 90 million people, is just equal to that of a university in Thailand.

Ho Uy Liem, Deputy Chair of VUSTA said on Saigon Tiep Thi that Vietnam has never conducted a survey to find out how many scientific research works have been carried out and how many percents of the works have been utilized in reality. In many cases, scientists repeated the research works of others, simply because they did not care about the works of the colleagues.

Professor Academician Tran Dinh Long, Chair of the Vietnam Plant Variety Association, said that in the agriculture sector, the Vietnam Agriculture Science Institute alone comprises of 18 belonging institutes. In the irrigation sector, there are eight institutes, 38 schools, 18 associations and 19 professional clubs.

However, despite the existence of so many scientific research units, very few valuable scientific research works have been recognized. Long said that the existence of too many units with overlapping functions and complicated structures has led to the inefficient management mechanism, which then results in bad quality research works.

Compiled by Thu Uyen

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