Vietnam sets new requirements for doctoral training programs

VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has set stricter requirements for doctorates, hoping that changes in the new regulations will shift the quality of PhDs to the regional level.


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Vu Xuan Quang, vice rector of the Duy Tan University in Da Nang City


MOET made the decision amid harsh criticism from public that with the current lax management policy, it is too easy to obtain a doctorate in Vietnam and that many PhDs are just ‘paper doctors’.

The word ‘paper doctor’ (tien si giay) appeared for the first time in a poem by Nguyen Khuyen, a famous Vietnamese Ruist scholar, poet and teacher living in the 19th century. It refers to people who did not have real talent and have higher education degrees by giving bribes to VIPs.

According to Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, director of the University Training Department, there are five new changes in the new regulation. 

Having standard foreign language skills will be a compulsory requirement for postgraduates, because they are a necessary tool that assists  study. They have to prove that they have skills good enough to read foreign documents.

Postgraduates also have to show their capability for scientific research through published research, scientific activities and technology transfer before registering to attend exams to become postgraduates.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has set stricter requirements for doctorates, hoping that changes in the new regulations will shift the quality of PhDs to the regional level.

MOET requires postgraduates to have scientific articles published in prestigious scientific journals before their doctoral dissertations are defended.

Mai Khoa, a PhD who studied at RMIT, applauding the decision, commented that international publications are the requirement set by all training establishments. This aims to ensure that scientific research results can be discussed and recognized by scientists.

Khoa pointed out that Vietnamese scientists are weak at publishing scientific articles and participating in international workshops, partly because of the low capability in writing and presenting reports in English.

Vu Xuan Quang, vice rector of the Duy Tan University in Da Nang City, former deputy head of the Physics and Material Science Institutes, also commented that ISI (international statistical institute) articles are an important measure to evaluate the quality of doctoral theses.

Quang sets up a principle for his graduate students that they must have at least two ISI articles published, because only ISI articles can ensure reliability and prove the research new.

“It would be very difficult to assess dissertations. If postgraduates have ISI articles, this means their research works are read and assessed by international scientists,” he explained.

Nguyen Ngoc Oanh from the Journalist & Communication Academy agrees that setting up higher requirements on foreign language skills is a must, and that not only English, Chinese, Russian and French, but Korean, Japanese and Thai skills will also be useful.

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Thanh Mai

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