Dec 24, 2012

Vietnam - Two big problems in credit-based university training

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VietNamNet Bridge – Credit-based training is considered a breakthrough in the university education. However, a lot of problems have arisen in the schools’ path towards the advanced training model.

Nguyen Thi My Hanh, MA, from the Hanoi University of Education said at a national conference on reviewing the credit-based training model on December 14, that the switching from the year-based to the credit-based mechanism has created big changes in assessing students’ ability.

With the application of the 4-point scale in assessing students’ abilities instead of the 10-point scale, it is now less accurate to assess students’ capability and classify students.

Agreeing with Hanh, Dinh Xuan Hao, MA, from the Saigon University said that the currently applied method of giving marks cannot provide reliable results, because students can be put on the higher positions in comparison with the traditional method.

The Ministry of Education and Training, in the Decision No. 43, showed the principles to convert the marks in numbers into the marks in letters. “A” would be equal to the marks from 8.5 to 10, meaning “excellent,” while “B” means “good,” equal to 7.4-8.5 marks. D would be used when lecturers want to give 1 mark, and F for zero.

Meanwhile, Dr Nguyen Duc Nghia, Deputy Director of the HCM City National Univeristy, has noted that at present, the credit-based training mechanism has been applied by universities, but in fact, the principles of year-based training scheme still have existed.

The Can Tho University gives assessments in letter marks, while the International University gives marks on the 100-point scale. Schools also set up different requirements on students. Students of some schools would pass the exams if they get four, while the students of other schools would have to repeat exams even if they get 4.5.

Dr Nghia said that the inconsistency in the assessment mechanism has made it difficult for visiting lecturers at universities. This has also brought disadvantages to the students who leave some schools for others, especially foreign ones.

The application of the credit-based training mechanism is believed to encourage students’ self-study. However, according to Dr. To Minh Thanh from the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanity, a survey has shown that despite the supports from lecturers, students remain uncooperative to obtain high learning achievements.

Thanh said a lecturer complained that his students are so lazy. Only six out of the tens of students do school works regularly. The students don’t read textbooks or reference materials.

It seems that the material facilities of the schools have not been ready enough to serve the new training model. There are sometime too many students in a class, which makes it unable for lecturers to take care for all students, while the materials have been lacking and the lessons are too short to provide sufficient knowledge.

Dr. Le Ngoc Tra also said that every lecturer has to take care for too many students; therefore, he still cannot give exact assessments about students’ works and ability.

Tra said that in foreign countries, there are always major lecturers and assistants, the thing which does not exist in Vietnam. As a result, a lecturer has to cover 300-400 students.

Not only lecturers, but students also complain about the new training method. The busy schedules with the lessons provided from the morning to the afternoon make students exhausted. Especially, many of them complained that it’s very difficult to register the learning schedules because of the overloading of the computing systems.

Le Huyen

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