Last update 1/31/2011 5:00:00 PM (GMT+7)

University lecturers absorbed by teaching, have no time for research

VietNamNet Bridge – University lecturers spend most of their time on teaching and giving extra classes to earn their living, which explains why they do not have time for research.

Besides teaching students, big universities in other countries also act as the research centers to boost innovation and transfer of technology. Meanwhile, Vietnamese universities are still far from being considered scientific centers

Heavy in theories, light in applications

Dr. Le Thi Tuyet Hanh from the Education Management Institute says that many university lecturers think that research is not an important part of their work. They have a more important work to do: teaching as many hours as possible in order to get money.

That explains why the Hanoi National University, one of the biggest universities in Vietnam, has to refund hundreds of million or billions dong a year, because it did not spend all the money on research projects.

Every year, the state budget allocates money to the universities nationwide to serve as research fund. However, many universities do not use the money because they do not have many research projects.

Scientists and educators agree that the current mechanism of registering research projects is too complicated and time-consuming. In fact, Vietnam does not lack talented scientists, but they face complicated procedures of project registration and disbursement

Phan Kim Ngoc from the HCM City University of Natural Sciences relates that after registering a research project, he received money. However, the sum was only enough to buy an old screen with low quality. Ngoc decided to use his own money to buy a bigger and better screen. However, then, he had to explain the reason and had to change invoices to prove that he used the money for the right purpose.

Ngoc also says that the low salaries have forced many university lecturers to take extra jobs. Some teach extra hours, while others have to take the jobs which in no way related to their profession.

Ngoc now earns only 4 million dong a month teaching at the university.

Dr. Tran Hoang Hao and Huynh Duc Thien (MA), from the HCM City University for Social Sciences and Humanity, also admitted that very few lecturers want to do research. If they do, the research mostly focuses on theory, while they do not have high application levels.

How much can university lecturers earn?

According to Le Minh Tien from the HCM City Open University, the main income source of lecturers is teaching.

Nguyen Quoc Vong, Lecturer of the Hanoi Agriculture University and RMIT in Hanoi, said that most lecturers have to teach long hours, 200-300 percent more than required.

As the ratio of lecturers per students in Vietnam is very high, 1/30, and lecturers have to teach longer hours, they do not have time for research.

Under the current regulations, every professor and associate professor has to teach 380 hours a year, every main lecturer 360 hours, and normal lecturer 280 hours.

State owned schools are now facing the so called “brain-drain”. As Bui Van Mien from the HCM City Agriculture and Forestry University says, non-state schools pay lecturers better, and it would be “ foolish to refuse to teach at non-state schools”.

His university, for example, pays 25,000 dong per hour to regular lecturers, and 50,000 dong per hour to the lecturers with doctorate or professorship. Meanwhile, non-state schools pay 80,000-120,000 dong per hour.

Source: Nguoi lao dong