Nov 30, 2012

Vietnam - Rushing to study to obtain a master degree, for what?

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VietNamNet Bridge – It is now a growing tendency for people to follow further studies to obtain master degrees and doctorates. However, the majority of them follow higher education just for job promotion, not for scientific research.

Two postgraduates of the Hanoi University of Technology have been forced to stop studying, because they have not joined academic activities of the faculty, have not submitted periodic reports and have not written scientific reports as required.

Prof Nguyen Trong Giang, President of the Hanoi University of Technology, said the decision was made following a school’s inspection over postgraduates and masters in 2010 and 2011. A lot of students have been found as not fulfilling the required works, thus badly affecting the training quality.

Postgraduates – the big clients of schools

The higher education scale at universities nationwide has been enlarged considerably in recent years. In 2011, the Hanoi National University planned to train 4000 masters, 376 doctors. Meanwhile, the school only had 5500 full-time training students.

The Hanoi Transport University enrolled 1000 postgraduates for master training for the first turn in 2012 alone.

Dr Ngo Kim Thanh from the Business Administration Faculty of the Hanoi Economics University has noted that studying for master degree is now in fashion.

However, while the number of learners has been increasing rapidly, the training quality and learners’ qualification have decreased.

Dr Thanh said that a lecturer, who has doctorate, now has to be the guide to tens of masters just within several years. Therefore, the training quality must not be high.

Also according to Thanh, most of postgraduates learn through correspondence courses, because they have to go to work in daytime. Since the learners do not have time for their studies, they have to “play tricks” to fulfill the works of postgraduates.

A lot of these have been found as the products of the “cut and paste” technology. In many cases, postgraduates plagiarized others’ theses, while the fraud was not found.

Dr Nguyen Ngoc Quang has noted that a lot of postgraduates write dissertations, give lectures and do their private business at the same time.

Quang knows a colleagues, who, when writing dissertation, still gave 1000 lecture hours at a university.

However, despite the low qualifications and under-standard theses, universities still turn a blind eye to the postgraduates. As such, after a certain period of studying at universities, the postgraduates automatically obtain the degrees they want.

It is understandable why schools decide to ignore the problems of postgraduates. If schools force someone to stop studying, they would be boycotted by postgraduates, which means that the schools would have no sources of income and no training achievements.

The guides, the judges - who are they?

Also according to Quang, there are too many problems with the lecturers in charge of guiding postgraduates to write their dissertations.

Many of them do not have deep knowledge in the fields of research suggested by postgraduates. However, they still accept to become the guides. Some of them have had no scientific research work made public over the last five years.

Judges in Vietnam all seem to be easy scientists. Sometimes, they give violent criticism to the dissertations, which made people believe that the postgraduates failed to defend their theses. However, they finally still gave high marks to the theses.


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