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What are the graduation requirements for PhD students in Vietnam?

VietNamNet Bridge - The training method for doctoral students "does not resemble any other country in the world’, which has produced low-quality theses and ‘tien si giay’ (paper PhDs), as called by Vietnamese. 
VietNamNet Bridge - The training method for doctoral students "does not resemble any other country in the world’, which has produced low-quality theses and ‘tien si giay’ (paper PhDs), as called by Vietnamese. 

A PhD dissertation with mistake in English spelling

According to the Ministry of Science & Technology’s Information Agency, Vietnam now has over 24,000 PhDs. And according to the Ministry of Education and Training, 15,000 PhDs now give lectures at universities and junior colleges.

Too easy to produce PhDs

An Nhien, a former postgraduate of the Southern Cross University in Australia, said in developed countries, schools set very strict requirements on postgraduates. In the US, for example, postgraduates have to spend 4-8 years to obtain doctorates, while in Western Europe, they have to spend 3-6 years.

Nhien said in the US, postgraduates have to follow coursework and attend the qualification examination. Only if they pass the exam will they be able to begin writing their dissertation. Many schools offer salaries or scholarships to postgraduates to be sure that they can spend all their time on training.

According to the Ministry of Science & Technology’s Information Agency, Vietnam now has over 24,000 PhDs.

In Vietnam, training establishments cannot provide full-time training to postgraduates. Vietnamese postgraduates cannot have a good academic environment where they can work with teachers and other scientists.

“Most Vietnamese postgraduates are working and none of them want to attend concentrated training courses because they would lose their jobs if they leave for studying,” a professor of a university in Hanoi said.

Meanwhile, under the current regulations, postgraduates for doctorates must experience full-time training for at least one year. 

In fact, schools themselves also don’t want to provide full-time training courses because of poor facilities and other poor conditions. As a result, the training quality is not good, while dissertations are simulate to ones written by in-service university students.

The professor commented that while MOET sets very strict regulations, schools ignore the regulations. As a result, PhDs are churned out in large numbers.

“In principle, postgraduates have to send in their dissertations to schools and they must not know who will mark their dissertations and who will be the critics. However, in reality, the information is ‘as clear as day’,” the professor said.

Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, former deputy chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, believes that postgraduates should be required to receive full-time training for three years at training establishments and participate in all the establishments’ scientific research activities with their tutors.

According to Vo Khanh Vinh, director of the Vietnam Institute for Social Sciences, the tuition set by the institute is very low, about VND15 million a year. This means that a postgraduate needs to spend VND50 million to obtain a doctorate.



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