Draft law addresses university ranking

September 11, 2017 - 07:00

A draft amendment to higher education law proposes clarifying university assessment measures and making them uniform so that university rankings can be more precise in the future.

Graduates from University of Languages and International Studies under National University Hà Nội at a graduation ceremony. — VNA/VNS Photo Bích Ngọc
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A draft amendment to higher education law proposes clarifying university assessment measures and making them uniform so that university rankings can be more precise in the future.

The draft, proposed by the Ministry of Education and Training, is intended to bring Việt Nam’s university ranking system in line with international ranking schemes, and ultimately improve the country’s university system.

Nguyễn Thị Kim Phụng, director of the ministry’s Higher Education Department, told local media that after the Law on Higher Education was approved by National Assembly in 2015, Government issued a decree on university ranking and the ministry completed a draft instruction on university ranking last year.

According to the decree, one of the ranking criteria is quality assessment results complied by the universities, independent assessors and the education ministry.

However, Phụng said that the assessment and ranking required a reliable database, based on established scientific criteria and agreed upon and implemented by multiple stakeholders.

The complicated process was blamed for the delay of a publication of Việt Nam University rankings in the past, Phụng said.

“Ranking is for reference. However, a ranking without care could have negative effects on the reputations of ranked universities or provide confusing information,” she said.

Some universities could take advantage of inexact rankings to collect higher tuition fees. They could concentrate on investing in major ranking criteria to gain a higher rank while ignoring lesser criteria, instead of focusing on learners’ demands, she said.

The official made the comments after a group of independent experts publicised the country’s first university ranking early last week.

The group included Dr Lưu Quang Hưng, a researcher working in Melbourne, Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Anh, director of Hà Nội-based Development and Policies Research Centre and Dr Giáp Văn Dương, an education expert who has conducted postdoctoral research in physics and chemistry in Europe. Consultancy was also provided by Vietnamese professors at the University of New South Wales and Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

The group ranked universities based on three criteria: scientific research, education quality, and infrastructure and management.

According to the ranking, Vietnam National University Hà Nội topped the list of 49 schools. Next came HCM City’s Tôn Đức Thắng University, Việt Nam National University of Agriculture, Đà Nẵng University and Việt Nam National University HCM City.

Some of the so-called top business universities gained modest positions, including Foreign Trade University (23rd), National Economic University (30th), Việt Nam University of Commerce (29th) and Academy of Finance (40th).

According to the independent ranking group, the business universities have few international scientific reports and their staff are teaching classes beyond their expertise.

Lưu Quang Hưng said at the ranking launch that they faced difficulties in collecting and sorting data because the universities followed different models and lacked comparable data sets.

The researchers worked for three years to produce the ranking which Hưng said was intended for public reference, but he added that he hoped Việt Nam’s universities would use them to guide improvements. — VNS