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NA ex-official says civil-service exams ‘fair,' ‘transparent' despite concerns

Update: May, 18/2015 - 08:43

Nguyen Viet Chuc, former vice-chairman of the National Assembly Commission for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, spoke to Khoa hoc & Doi song (Science & Life) newspaper about Ha Noi civil-service exams.

Thirty candidates who passed their degrees with flying colours in Viet Nam and abroad or came first at domestic schools, failed in the recent Ha Noi civil-service exam. This has raised big questions among the public about the fairness of the test. Do you have anything to say?

In any test, there are always people who pass and people who fail. And sometimes, the ones who fail are excellent and promising candidates. That's why in Viet Nam we have a saying that "your life is decided by your fate."

However, in real life, many candidates who have good study achievements have passed the civil service exams with flying colours. But in the case of the Ha Noi exam, maybe some of the questions had not been covered in their university courses, particularly for those who had studied abroad. In addition, they also had to take direct interviews to show their abilities.

In short, I think the examination organised by the Ha Noi Department of Interior Affairs was fair and transparent.

Some people say that civil servants do not need MA/MSc degrees or doctorate degrees. The most important requirements are that candidates must be good citizens and have the capacity to perform according to their job description. How do you respond to that?

I agree that the most important criteria is that successful candidates must be capable to perform their assigned tasks. In order to have good performance, they need to have good academic backgrounds. No doubt, people with wide knowledge and good work attitude will have more chances to be promoted.

Don't you think that questions in the civil service exam should include knowledge about state management, a very special and demanding topic for university graduates, particularly those who did not major in public administration?

As I have mentioned, all tests have their own special criteria and examining board. And there are successful or unsuccessful candidates. Of course, for a civil-service exam, their main purpose is to choose candidates who have potential to perform well. We all know that students who came first at domestic schools are intelligent people and they are the best in the subjects that they major in.

On the other hand, just why graduates from foreign schools with "distinction" or "excellent" levels, or came first at domestic schools, failed the civil service exam makes us look at the exam questions to see whether they were too difficult or too demanding.

Some believe that an unreasonable examination scheme and lack of transparency are the two reasons that led to many good candidates failing the Ha Noi civil service exam. But I don't really agree with that conclusion.

I support the idea of organising an examination to select the best candidates rather than just by reading their resumes. — VNS

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