Professors concerned about new ranking system for universities

Update: November, 04/2015 - 00:00
A view of the HCM City University of Science and Technology. Vietnamese universities will be classified into three groups based on the training they offer - research, applied education and vocational. — Photo

HA NOI — A new classification and ranking system for universities in Viet Nam has been causing confusion among many education leaders who are unsure if their schools are assessed correctly.

Vietnamese universities will be classified into three groups based on the training they offer - research, applied education and vocational - in accordance with a new Government decree issued last month, which took effect on October 25.

Each group will be ranked into three levels depending on training quality, with the most prestigious schools receiving Class 1 rankings, followed by Class 2 and Class 3.

Nguyen Huu Duc, deputy director of Viet Nam National University (VNU) in Ha Noi, said the new classification method inadvertently eliminates some functions of Vietnamese universities.

"Every university must cover three functions comprising training, researching and applying education," Duc said. "However, the group of research institutions described in the decree focuses only on research, without mentioning practical application of knowledge and co-operation between institutions and enterprises, as well as localities."

Duc said the new classification method is too rigid and inconsistent with reality.

"It is the research institution which can best develop technology and transfer knowledge, efficiently contributing to national education, as well as to the community," Duc said.

Duc said VNU slightly falls short of the required standards, but added that the university could easily make improvements to meet the criteria in a short period of time. For example, the percentage of students earning master's and doctorate degrees at VNU is 27.5, while the rate required for a research institution is 30. VNU's number of lecturers with doctorate degrees accounts for 48.5 per cent of teaching staff, and the required rate for research institutions is 50 per cent.

Rector of Ha Noi University of Culture (HUC) Nguyen Van Cuong said HUC has not yet been classified, and it needs at least two years to meet the required standards.

Hoang Xuan Hiep, rector of Ha Noi Industrial College for Textile, said he is concerned that his institution could be incorrectly classified, leading to the admission of unsuitable students into the school.

Hiep said the stipulated criteria are not clear enough to assess the schools, adding that the criteria for ranking universities should be more comprehensive.

Regarding the accreditation and assessment capacity of relevant agencies, Cuong said the "university classification depends much on the accreditation and assessment capacity of the relevant agencies".

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga said the ministry will first appoint public agencies to carry out the assessment task, and next year private agencies will be appointed.

"This is currently the best choice to ensure fairness and transparency for universities," Ga said. — VNS