Does Vietnam needs more PhDs? MOET says yes, the public says no

VietNamNet Bridge - While the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) persists in the VND12 trillion plan to produce 9,000 more PhDs, the public thinks the plan will squander people’s money.



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MOET wants to produce 9,000 more PhDs




On education forums, many people have criticized MOET’s plan to train PhDs. 

“MOET wants to run another program to produce ‘paper doctors’,” one commenter wrote.

The word ‘paper doctor’ (tien si giay) appeared for the first time in a poem by Nguyen Khuyen, a famous Vietnamese poet in the 19th century. Paper doctor means people who have doctorates but don’t have real talent.

While the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) persists in the VND12 trillion plan to produce 9,000 more PhDs, the public thinks the plan will squander people’s money.
Tran Xuan Nhi, a renowned education expert, former Deputy Minister of Education & Training, commented that the plan initiated by MOET is unconvincing, and that it is understandable why MOET’s plan is facing strong opposition.

“Vietnam lacks real PhDs, but we have paper doctors in abundance. If MOET continues producing more paper doctors, it will face discontent from the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Tung Lam, chair of the Hanoi Educational Psychology, said the plan drawn up by MOET is ‘impractical’, as teachers’ salaries are not high enough to cover their basic needs.

“It would be better to use the VND12 trillion MOET plans to spend on producing PhDs to pay higher salaries to teachers. This will encourage them to work better and devote themselves to education,” Lam said.

Lam went on to say that the PhD training quality in Vietnam is low, so it is necessary to reconsider training procedures. 

Agreeing with Lam, Nhi said the issue needs thorough consideration before spending such a large amount of money.

He suggested that it would be better to encourage lecturers to study for a doctorate with their own money, saying that they will try their best to become high-quality PhDs. Subsidization will not bring the desired effects.

Nhi, noting the failure of the Project 911 to produce PhDs, warned that if MOET doesn’t consider things carefully, it will repeat the same mistakes.

Tran Viet On, vice president of the Hanoi Water Resources University, affirmed that Vietnam lacks lecturers with a doctorate, but questioned the feasibility of the plan.

“It will take time to produce 9,000 PhDs, because the work cannot be fulfilled overnight. It may take 10 or 15 years to do this,” he said, adding that the training of so many PhDs within a 3-5 year period will not have high quality. 

“The goal of producing 20,000 PhDs by 2020 set for Project 911 is also impractical,” he commented.
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