Vietnam education system rejects what it produces
Updated : 08/17/2012 10:51 GMT + 7
Vietnamese educators’ efforts to create a fair and advanced education system have yet to pay off as they are now experiencing a splitting headache: that same system refuses its own products.
Education officials have repeatedly insisted that no distinction should be made between part- and full-time degree programs, but the reality is always harsh.
In fact, many local education departments have officially announced they will not consider applicants with a degree earned from what Vietnamese call ‘in-service mode,’ which provides people who are working with part-time training programs – mostly of lower academic standards than their full-time counterparts – when they look for teachers and staff members.
In a recent teacher recruitment notice, the education department in the northern province of Ha Nam said that it would only accept applications by graduates of top-tier universities and noted point blank that candidates with a part-time degree would surely be turned down.
Nam Dinh, Ha Nam’s neighbor, has long dodged part-time degrees when recruiting employees for the education sector because it does not want to waste time screening applications with a very high likelihood of failing to meet its requirements in the first place, as elaborated by the provincial home affairs department, which supervises recruitment.
It will follow the same procedures this year, the department has said.
Another northern province, Vinh Phuc, lying northwest of Hanoi, has also said ‘no’ to part-time graduates since last year.
Down south, Ho Chi Minh City is no exception, as a personnel manager of the municipal education department says graduates from full-time programs will be given high priority during its teacher staffing process this year.
“I think full-time graduates are better,” Van Cong Sang, the manager, said.
A former education official in Ha Nam cited quality discrepancy as the reason for the province’s recruitment policy, which he said dated back to seven years ago.
“Teachers are the most important element to give birth to a good education system, so our way is completely justified,” explained Nguyen Quoc Tuan, former director of the local education department.
The majority of part-time students yield very disappointing performance, according to Assoc Prof Hoang Dung, with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education.
Dr H., who is teaching in-service programs at many universities in Ho Chi Minh City, revealed that course directors are always lenient with part-time students, as most of them have to go to work during the day.
“We often give easier end-of-semester tests,” H. said, “because it is an unspoken assumption that academic bars should be lowered in this case.”
The lecturer recalled an incident when a school refused to renew a contract with him after he had failed too many students in a part-time course.
Part-time students themselves reported that many lecturers even cut their curriculums by up to a third, and that cheating is not uncommon in final exams.
The game should be fairer
Early elimination of part-time degree holders is unfair no matter what reason is given, local educators have complained, calling for equal opportunity for both part- and full-time graduates.
Candidates should not be judged by their diplomas, they said.
The education law stipulates that part- and full-time degrees are equally valid, said Dr Nguyen Kim Hong, vice president of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education.
“So why not put everyone in the same selection process instead of disregarding some?”
My Giang Son, academic affairs head at Saigon University, gave his agreement, and added that a candidate’s capability can only be seen through real tests.
These employers’ refusal may stem from their own past experiences with certain people with a part-time degree, but that does not mean their evasion of the rest is defensible, according to Vu Thuy Quynh, dean of the part-time training department at the Hanoi-based University of Languages and International Studies.
This kind of discrimination would discourage serious attempts by schools to gradually bridge the quality gap between different training modes, Dr Hong, the vice president, said.
In Vietnam, universities are believed to compromise on the quality of their part-time training programs, and thus recruit as large a number of students as possible to simply reap profit.