Vietnam aims to have additional 9,000 PhDs
VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) plans to produce 9,000 PhDs more for universities and junior colleges by 2025 in a VND12 trillion program, though Vietnam now has over 24,300 PhDs.


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Producing more lecturers with a doctorate is part of the plan to upgrade the capability of the lecturing staff and managerial officers in the 2018-2025 period.

According to MOET, by the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, Vietnam had 235 universities and academies (including 170 state-owned schools, 60 private and 5 foreign invested schools), 37 research institutes assigned to produce PhDs, 33 pedagogical junior colleges and two pedagogical intermediate schools.

Regarding the lecturing staff, in the 2016-2017 academic year, Vietnam had 72,792 lecturers, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with one year before. This included 16,514 lecturers with a doctorate (+ 21.4 percent) and 43,065 with a master’s degree (+6.6 percent).

There are 3,388 lecturers at pedagogical junior colleges, including 115 lecturers with a doctorate and 2,187 with a master’s degree.

There are 3,388 lecturers at pedagogical junior colleges, including 115 lecturers with a doctorate and 2,187 with a master’s degree.

There are 4,687 professors and associate professors in the educational sector, or 6.4 percent of total lecturers, including 574 professors (0.8 percent) and 4,113 associate professors (5.6 percent).

MOET said the proportion of lecturers with a doctorate at training establishments is too low and lower than other regional countries. 

Though the number of lecturers in Vietnam has increased, those with professorship titles and doctorates in the educational system is still modest. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, 55 percent of university lecturers were PhDs in 2015. The figure was 24 percent in Thailand in 2005.

Also according to MOET, the quality of the lecturing staff remains questionable as many lecturers don’t carry out scientific research and don’t have articles published in domestic and foreign science journals and their foreign language skills are limited.

Vietnam now has 9,000 professors and associate professors and 24,300 PhDs, but Vietnam’s scientific research lags far behind ASEAN countries.

In 1996-2005, Vietnamese scientists published 3,456 research works in ISI journals, just equal to one-tenth of Thailand and one-third of Malaysia. In 2006-2010, Vietnam only had five patents registered in the US.

Vietnam has 334 science journals with ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), but only 26 journals (0.078 percent) have articles published fully or partially in English. 

For all these reasons, MOET believes that raising the proportion of lecturers with doctorate to 35 percent is a must, though many experts don’t agree.

Duong Duc Tien, a lecturer from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, commented that the PhDs trained many years ago in the former Soviet Union and socialist republics still ‘have not been used up’.

The training program is estimated to cost VND12 trillion, 94 percent of which would be from the state budget.


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Kim Chi

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