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UPM to foster local and regional higher education upgrades

Vietnam has introduced university performance metrics, or UPM, to rate national and regional establishments, as well as provide valuable evaluation information of the universities. 

Assoc Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thu Thuy, acting director general of the Higher Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), discusses the battle to raise the quality of higher education in the country.

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Assoc Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thu Thuy, acting director general of the Higher Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)

How does Vietnamese higher education measure up to the world?


Over the years, Vietnam’s higher education has made significant strides towards autonomy, enhancing accreditation, publicity of education quality, and approaching the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So far, as many as 160 Vietnamese higher education institutions and more than 300 training programmes have been accredited by prestigious domestic and international accreditation organisations.

Higher education institutions have been accessing modern university governance tools to identify and strengthen their competence. Vietnam has three higher education institutions recorded in the list of 1,000 top universities in the world according to the most prestigious international rankings.

Vietnam’s higher education is generally ranked 68th out of nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide.

What does the launch of the UPM ranking system mean in evaluating and improving the quality of higher education in Vietnam?


Local universities are showing limitations in operation and management, especially in evaluating the quality of education and ensuring transparency.

This is not only a problem for Vietnam but also a common problem in many countries, including across ASEAN. Therefore, in order to improve university governance capacity both at the macro and micro levels, it is necessary to have an appropriate and effective set of quality management tools, especially to compare quality assurance indicators among higher education institutions.

The construction and operation of the UPM system has many implications for Vietnam’s higher education. First of all, UPM is a star ranking system of Vietnam, researched and built by domestic educational scientists. Besides that, the system is also the premise for one of the first databases and data analysis centres on higher education.

With these strengths, UPM can provide consultancy and support to domestic and regional higher education institutions.

Higher education institutions can use UPM to self-evaluate their performance, at the same time use it as a tool for strategic management, brand development, and partner development. The government, especially the MoET, can use UPM for macro management, as a basis for decision-making and policy formulation.

Currently, there are eight sectors entitled to free movement within ASEAN and receive common recognition from countries in the region. What opportunities will the application of UPM create when the training level and labour quality of Vietnam are closer to that of other ASEAN member states?


Since UPM has a database and data analysis system, with the information provided, learners have accurate information about higher education institutions so that they can choose schools, training fields and careers suitable to their capabilities and strengths.

In contrast, employers also have the basis for developing personnel strategies, recruitment plans and knowledge transfer cooperation.

Not only applied in Vietnam, useful and effective evaluation indicators such as UPM can also be used to compare the quality of higher education institutions in countries in the region.

This application process will also contribute to the effective reference of qualifications frameworks of countries including Vietnam with the ASEAN qualifications reference framework.

This is the basis for the universities to train the above eight industry sectors to build and adjust the training programmes as close to the regional output standards.

That process will also contribute to promoting the recognition of diplomas and certificates, as well as increasing the reception of the regional market to workers trained in Vietnam. VIR

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