|Students of HCM City's Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine at a genetics class. The Ministry of Health has banned universities that do not specialise in medical education from opening new majors next year. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy
HA NOI (VNS) — Universities without specialisation in medical education are temporarily halted from opening new majors in the field next year, due to concerns about the quality of training offered.
Medical majors such as general medicine, odonto-stomatology, traditional medicine and pharmacology will be taken off the list of available majors at universities without the approval of the Ministry of Education and Training.
Vice Minister of Education and Training, Bui Van Ga, said that the decision was also agreed to by the Ministry of Health in efforts to raise the quality of doctors.
The temporary ban reportedly came from vocalised worries about the training quality at certain universities that haven't historically specialised in medicine, especially private ones. The worries and complaints have been piling up since 2012 when the non-specialised universities were first permitted to admit students to study medicine.
The network of universities allowed to offer medical training was expanded to meet the growing demand for medical personnel. Next year the number of medical professionals is expected to reach 444,500.
Statistics by the Ministry of Health show that Viet Nam has 55 universities, both state and privately run, that provide medical training.
Hoang Bui Hai, a lecturer at Ha Noi Medical University, argued that proper medical education must satisfy certain fundamental criteria like excellent lecturers, infrastructure and funding for research and laboratory classes, as well as a network of hospitals and clinics for internships.
"Opening a medical school is not easy as opening a business school," he told Nguoi Lao dong (Labourer) newspaper.
Vice Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong, in a memo to the Ministry of Education last year, pointed out that several universities failed to offer sufficiently qualified training and thus could not guarantee well-trained students.
The quality of incoming students was also another concern.
Medical faculties at private universities like Dai Nam, Lac Hong and Southern Can Tho Universities admitted national university entrance scores ranging from 10 to 15, two times lower than the average scores of admitted students at 27 universities that specialise in medical training.
HCM City Medical and Pharmacy University's Vice Director, Le Quan Nghiem, said the Ministry of Education and Training allowed the expansion of medical training yet failed to properly manage it.
"Several universities admitted about 700 medical students a year, sometimes up to 1,000 students, while universities specialised in medical training admit at most 300 students a year", he added.
"It is impossible to have quality training if the size of incoming classes is larger than the capacity of the campus, it becomes even harder when the quality of the students is low," he said.
Nghiem also said that the Ministry of Education and Training's decision to halt passing requests for new medical majors was a sign that the Ministry will tighten the conditions for offering medical majors down the road.
"Those conditions are currently too loose and riddled with many loopholes," he said. — VNS