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Changes in university enrollment regulations: students applaud, teachers worry

Update: December, 26/2016 - 09:00
Students of Hải Phòng City’s Medical University conduct an experiment. The Ministry of Education and Training recently issued its draft 2017 university enrollment regulations that would cancel the minimum score requirement. -VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Plans to scrap the minimum number of points required for university enrollment in Việt Nam has highschool students cheering, but teachers concerned.

Currently, the minimum score required to be considered for university enrollment is 14-15 points for the combination of three subjects in national high school exams. Three compulsory subjects in the exams include math, literature and a foreign language, and three subjects are optional, with students able to choose among physics, chemistry, history and biology.

After learning that the Ministry of Education and Training recently issued its draft 2017 university enrollment regulations that would cancel the minimum score requirement, Nguyễn Thanh Mai, a high school student in Hà Nội, said she felt "like the 12-year burden of trying to pass the exams has been eased.”

She studied very hard over the years, hoping to get into university in accordance with her parents’ expectations, Mai said.

But a high school teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said that if the ministry removed the minimum score regulation, many students who could not get in until now would be accepted. This, plus parents’ desire for their children to have an academic education rather than a vocational one, would result in a generation of graduates who cannot find suitable jobs, she said.

Many would study simply for the sake of going to university, without a clear direction about their future career, she said.

The ministry should listen to more comments from education experts before making its final decision, she added.

Associate Professor Đỗ Văn Dũng, principal of the HCM City University of Technology and Education, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that without the minimum score, the quality of candidates would be lower, as would that of the graduates.

Dũng said a candidate failing to achieve the minimum score would have a hard time keeping up with university-level programmes. Those who do succeed might find themselves unemployed because they would fail to meet demands of recruiters, he said.

That, in turn, would increase unemployment and be a burden on society, he warned.

But Associate Professor Hồ Thanh Phong, principal of Hồ Chí Minh City International University, applauded the ministry’s draft.

Removing the minimum score requirement was good because many universities had in any case started to enroll based on a candidate’s high school record instead of the minimum score, he said.

Deputy Minister Bùi Văn Ga told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that easing the enrollment criteria would create favourable conditions for schools to decide by themselves what score they require to enroll a candidate.

Setting a minimum score for all schools is not in keeping with the trend of multi-sector training, he said.

Answering questions related to the lower quality of candidates if minimum scores ar cancelled, Ga said the ministry had allowed universities to enroll students based on their high school record instead of the minimum score. Therefore, the minimum score no longer means much, he said.

Multi choices for candidates

The draft regulations would also allow candidates to apply to as many as universities as they want.

However, candidates would have to list their priorities in order, so that if they failed to get into their top choice university, they would be considered for the second option. Candidates found qualified for the second university would have to go there and their other options would be deleted.

This is aimed at ensuring there are no “virtual” applicants that could trigger chaos in the university enrollment system, the ministry said.

Until now, candidates were limited to applying to two universities.

About 880,000 high school graduates applied to universities in 2016. However, the quota was about 420,000, accounting for approximately 48 per cent. — VNS

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