The race to produce more Vietnamese PhDs
VietNamNet Bridge - According to the MInistry of Science and Technology (MST) and Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), Vietnam now has 24,000 PhDs and 16,514 lecturers with a doctorate, and needs to have 36,000 more PhDs in the 2018-2025 period.


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Vietnam now has 24,000 PhDs and 16,514 lecturers with a doctorate




Vietnam has been pursuing a plan to produce more PhDs for many years. Project 911 on producing 20,000 PhDs by 2020 kicked off in August 2011 and the enrollment started in 2012 and is expected to finish in 2018. 

With the 7-year enrollment period, Vietnam hopes to enroll 23,000 PhD students.

In the 2012-2016 period, 3,819 PhD students were trained. This means that only 16.6 percent of the plan has been implemented. 

Of these, 800 PhD students have finished the training courses and returned to their schools. Over 1.5 trillion has been spent on the training program.

MOET reported that about 1,000 PhDs are produced every year. However, only one-third of them are from universities or junior colleges.

MOET reported that about 1,000 PhDs are produced every year. However, only one-third of them are from universities or junior colleges.

Vietnamese PhD students have also been sent abroad for training under government-to-government agreements. The Russian government has decided to raise the number of scholarships from 400 per annum to 1,000, while Hungary has raised it from 40 to 100. 

Every year, Vietnam receives 1,000-1,200 scholarships for study at tertiary and postgraduate levels in other countries. In 2008-2016, nearly 1,400 PhDs were trained under the agreements, with 70 percent of them university lecturers.

322/356 was the first scholarship program that sent PhD students in important majors abroad on the state budget. To date, 2,256 PhDs, including 1,300 lecturers, have been trained under the program.

Under the program on sending Vietnamese to Russia in accordance with the Vietnam-Russia agreement on debt settlement, Vietnam was permitted to use $50 million for training purposes. Of this amount, $17 million was spent to send Vietnamese to Russia and $33 million to other countries.

PhD production programs have been implemented not only by MOET but by other ministries as well.

These include MARD’s 2016-2010 Biology and Fishery Program which aims to produce 60-80 PhDs, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s program on preparing human resources in culture and arts by 2030, which aims to produce 300 bachelors, 180 masters and 50 PhDs.

Though the number of PhD students to be trained under the programs is high, the number of university lecturers is not.

Meanwhile, the government’s resolution on reforming Vietnam’s tertiary education in 2006-2020 says that by 2020, Vietnam needs to have at least 35 percent of lecturers with a doctorate.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, Vietnam had 16,514 PhD lecturers (22.7 percent).

As the number of PhD lecturers is lower than expected, the PM’s 2011-2020 Education Development Strategy has been adjusted and Vietnam now aims to have 25 percent of university lecturers with a doctorate by 2020.


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Mai Nam

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