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What’s behind the Vietnamese desire to study overseas?

VietNamNet Bridge - Some Vietnamese people attach too much importance to foreign university degrees, according to Prof Neal Koblitz from University of Washington in Seattle.
VietNamNet Bridge - Some Vietnamese people attach too much importance to foreign university degrees, according to Prof Neal Koblitz from University of Washington in Seattle.


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Speaking at a working session at the Vietnam Mathematics Institute several days ago, he said that in India, China and Vietnam people think that everything in western countries is better than in their home countries. 

Vietnamese tend to praise the culture and training establishments in the US and Europe, and disparage schools in their home countries, he said.

Many Indian and Chinese believe that a degree granted by the University of Alabama in the US is more valuable than a degree granted by the India Technology Institute or Tsinghua University. But Alabama in the US is more famous for its rugby team rather than its training quality.

Vietnamese tend to praise the culture and training establishments in the US and Europe, and disparage schools in their home countries

In Vietnam, people think that studying at Houston Community College and Fulbright University is better than at Hanoi National University.

In fact, many universities enroll some overseas students with weak leaning skills and poor English skills.  

Nguyen Van Thuan, 29, from Thai Binh province, a graduate from Ulyanovsk State University, commented that ‘studying overseas’, for many young men, just means ‘selling time and buying degrees’.

“As for them, studying overseas is a trend, a jewelry item that can ‘embellish’ their profiles. Well-off families send their children abroad to show their high financial capabilities,” Thuan said.

“Some of my friends studied at schools ranked at the bottom of the university rankings. But they still show off because they finished foreign schools,” he said.

A reader, who introduced himself as a high school teacher, in his email to VietNamNet’s editorial board, commented that most self-funded students overseas do not have high level of skills and only students who receive scholarships from governments or universities have high learning capability.

In addition, a high number of overseas Vietnamese students study abroad because they failed to enroll in universities in Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, students have to pass very tough national exam to enter universities. In other countries, they don’t have to,” he explained.

Thai Ba Hoang, 23, from Hanoi, who is now studying in Russia with the scholarship granted by his school, said he would not spend so much money to study overseas.

“Vietnamese schools are also good. If I had not got the scholarship, I would have chosen a polytechnic school in Vietnam,” he said. “Foreign schools, including the leading universities in the world, cannot turn weak students into talents.”


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