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Too early to decide success of university application process

Update: August, 25/2015 - 10:15

Students need more help

Dao Trong Thi, Chairman of the National Assembly Commitee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children

Combining high school graduation with university entrance exams has relieved pressure on students and saved quite a lot of money, especially for their parents.

However, I disagree with the structure of the exams. They are divided into two parts. The first part, accounting for 70 per cent, is considered for high school graduation, while the remaining 30 per cent is used by universities to assess students. The first part is fine, but the second part fails to divide students because their marks are almost the same. The only ones who stand out are excellent students.

The new university application process has raised concerns for students and their parents as well as society. However, in my opinion, this is due to a technical problem, not the nature of the process.

The Ministry of Education and Training has failed train its staff to help students to withdraw or submit their applications. These are the two main elements causing anxiety for both the students and their parents during the university application process.

The Ministry of Education and Training made a big change this year by combining the national high school graduation and university admission exams. Experts, students and parents have expressed different ideas about the Ministry's decision on the new university application process.

Professor Ngo Bao Chau, Vietnamese and French mathematician at the University of Chicago.

More time is needed to objectively assess the new university application process, particularly while the application process is ongoing.

It is too early for people to jump to conclusions and say that the combination of the recent national high school graduation exams and the university admission process was a disaster.

It is also unfair to make a judgment of a decision that relates to millions of other people from a simple action taken by one student's parents - the case where the parents hired an ambulance to take him to submit a university application form.

I expressed my point of view last year on the need to eliminate high school graduation exams. My argument for the proposal was based on the lack of honesty on the side of the students over the past few years.

In addition, I think a qualitative evaluation should be based on a process rather than on a single test. That's why the students' achievements throughout the school year should be sufficient for the teacher to say whether they graduate. I maintain my position on this point.

When I heard about the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET)'s decision to combine the national high school exams with the university entrance exams, I had already foreseen the problems ahead. That's why I would like to congratulate the ministry for its efforts to ensure the students completed the exams honestly. If I compare this year's exams with the past few years, they should be considered a considerable success.

Vu Tuan Anh, candidate

I was anxiously waiting for the results of my application to the Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam. My high school final examination marks were good, so I am quietly confident. I only applied to this university, so I didn't waste time withdrawing my application and submitting it to another university, like many of my friends.

I've found the process interesting this year.

Last year, candidates had to pass a university entrance exam to see if they'd be accepted or not. They were not offered the option of changing their choice. This meant even some top students were unable to get into their university of choice.

Relating to the selection process this year, I think that 20 days for students to change their decision and withdraw their application from one university and submit it to another is quite a long time!

I think 15 days for students to send their applications is enough and 5 days to withdraw them is ok. It may limit the number of candidates who withdraw their applications, submit them somewhere else and withdraw them again.

This year, I was surprised to see that the high school scores were higher than in previous years. I think that the questions this year did not help distinguish outstanding students and average students.

I hope that next year's exams will help to differentiate students' abilities.

Nguyen Thi Hong Tram, mother of a candidate

I think that the new university application process is quite interesting. It offers the opportunity to get into university to the students who deserve it.

However, it's been tiring for both students and their families who have been waiting anxiously for the results.

When my son received his exam marks at the end of July, he applied to the Ha Noi Law University as his first choice. However, a few days later, he became worried he would not be able to compete with other students who got better scores, so he withdrew his application and submitted it to the Ha Noi Architecture University.

I think its interesting that the MOEThas allowed students a 20-day window to withdraw or resubmit their applications, during which time they can check universities' lists applicants to assess their chances.

That's why my son switched to the architecture university and was finally accepted. However, it took my son and I a lot of time to check the university listings.

To find out if he had been accepted, my son had to visit university web sites to check the number of registered candidates and their exam scores to calculate whether he had made the cut.

The list was only updated every three days. If the university had updated the list more often, it would have been better. I am convinced that to improve this process, teachers need to update universities' enrolment information more frequently.

I also hope that universities will give an indication of the estimated acceptance score, so students spend less time worrying about their results. I realise this score depends on other students, but it might be an idea if universities announce their prediction the day before students submit their applications.

Tran Manh Dung, head of training at the Banking Academy

In my opinion, the national high school exams held by the Ministry of Education and Training achieve a number of basic goals. Combining high school graduation with university entrance exams has saved time and money, and helped minimise the need for extra classes and intensive training centres for university entrance exams. Candidates can now choose a university that suits their ability as they know their scores before they apply.

However, the Ministry of Education and Training has issued regulations that allow candidates to change their choice of university. This has lead to confusion and shortcomings that the ministry failed to foresee. This cost candidates and their parents time, money and effort, and has raised fierce reactions from the community.

It's not fair to judge the success of this decision on the confusing application process. I think these shortcomings can be solved to prevent it putting so much pressure on students and their parents in the future.

The ministry should make adjustments to a number of processes. First, exams need to be more relevant to individual groups of candidates. Second, changes are needed to the ministry's regulations to make them more suitable. — VNS

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