Hallmarks of Vietnam higher education 2021
Fake diploma puts former leader of Dong Do University in jail
In the last days of the year, several former leaders of Dong Do University were sentenced for granting hundreds of fake degrees to earn billions of VND. The former principal got 12 years in prison, and two vice principals were sentenced to 10 and 9 years in prison, respectively. The remaining seven people, who were former department heads and school officials, were sentenced to between 12 months and six years in prison.
For the first time, Vietnamese university enters world top 500
In 2021, for the first time, Vietnam had two educational institutions in the top 500 in the world according to the THE 2022 rankings, namely Ton Duc Thang University and Duy Tan University, both based in HCM City.
In addition, 11 Vietnamese educational institutions entered the Asian university rankings, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS AUR). Particularly, Ton Duc Thang University ranked 142nd; Hanoi National University 147th; Ho Chi Minh City National University 179th, Duy Tan University 210th, and Hanoi University of Science and Technology in the 281-290 group.
Newly recruited pedagogical students provided 3.63 million VND/month
In 2021, the education sector officially implemented Decree 116/2020/ND-CP of the Government. Accordingly, pedagogical students will be supported with tuition fees and living expenses. Besides the tuition fee, they will be granted 3.63 million VND/month to pay for living expenses during their study period.
Project 89 implemented 2.5 years after approval
In mid-May 2021, 2.5 years after being issued by the Government, the Ministry of Education and Training released a dispatch guiding the implementation of training of doctoral and master degree holders with budget capital in 2021 and 2022 under Project 89 "Improve the capacity of lecturers and managers of higher education institutions to meet the requirements of fundamental and comprehensive renovation of education and training in the period of 2019-2030".
In just a short time, more than 2,500 lecturers registered to participate this project.
With some changes in the selection process and management mechanism, Project 89 is expected to overcome the limitations of Project 322 and Project 911.
However, while spending for one lecturer pursuing doctoral training overseas is expected to be as high as 3.5 billion VND/person, the estimated expenditures for those who pursue studies for doctoral and master degrees at home is said to be low, under a draft made by the Finance Ministry.
This raises concerns that domestic training institutions will find it difficult to attract talent.
'Standards' for doctoral training are criticized
In 2021, Circular 18 on doctoral training of the Ministry of Education and Training caused many controversies, mainly related to international publications. Previously, PhD trainees were required to have international publications, but now they only need three publications in domestic journals. The instructor also does not need to have international publications, but only two 'average' domestic publications in the last five years.
The new circular was issued when the number of doctoral enrollments had decreased markedly in the past four years.
However, many said that the Ministry of Education and Training had "lowered the standards" compared to the 2017 regulations, making Vietnam's doctorate standards lower than that of Thailand and Malaysia.
Online learning became increasingly familiar for Vietnamese students. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, universities switched to online teaching and exams.
Meanwhile, students from 20 universities could not graduate because of the pandemic.
In Ho Chi Minh City, a number of dormitories of universities became concentrated quarantine areas. Along with online learning, universities have invested heavily in digital transformation.
College benchmarks soar
In 2021, 795,353 high-school students applied for university admission. Sixty-one candidates who had 29.5 out of 30 marks or more did not qualify for any of their applications. In particular, to be enrolled in three faculties of Hong Duc University (Thanh Hoa), Political Academy of the People's Public Security, and University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Hanoi National University), students must have a 30 - 30.5 mark. Thus, if a candidate gets a perfect score (30/30) without a priority, there is still a possibility of failure.
Problems with 'online learning'
Earlier this year, a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology scolded his students for having "buffalo brains" during an online class, causing a stir on social media. After the incident, the college sent a letter asking the teacher to maintain the proper behavior of a lecturer.
The Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education apologized for a lecturer kicking students out of an online class.
And also, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, a student was naked and had sex with his girlfriend, but forgot to turn off the camera while studying online.
More Vietnamese students are registering for exam preparation classes for international certificates as more universities now require the certificates.