A university in Ho Chi Minh City is requiring undergraduates in their final year to be present at a health check held by the school in order to graduate, sparking a wave of discord amongst its students.
The University of Social Sciences and Humanities, a major higher education institution in southern Vietnam, has formally asked its seniors to undergo a health examination on its premises on April 20 in order to be eligible for graduation.
The students will be required to pay VND50,000 (US$2.2) for the service , which Nguyen Thi Loan, an officer of the school, said is significantly lower than the prices at medical centers and clinics across the city.
The charge, however, does not guarantee a truly reliable check-up result, which typically costs around four to ten times higher, according to Van Chi Nam, head of the student affairs office at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science, a prestigious university in Vietnam.
The examination is expected to include an evaluation of each student’s physique, weight, internal systems, blood pressure, skin, eyes, ears, teeth, the mouth, and nose.
The announcement was quick to spark a wave of discord and questioning amongst the school’s student body.
“If I don’t attend the health check event, will it affect my graduation? What’s the health check for?” one student asked.
“In my view, the university should let students go to the event on a voluntary basis, instead of forcing them to do it,” another suggested.
Officer Loan said that the university is supposed to hold health examinations at the beginning of each academic year and regularly during a semester, in accordance with regulations set forth by the Ministry of Education and Training.
These checks are intended to help students care for their health, pursue timely treatments for illnesses, and enable schools to control disease on their campuses, according to Luu Trung Thuy, an education official in Ho Chi Minh City.
“The school has to organize these sessions at least two times for students during the year of their entrance. Seniors can use results from the medical checkup as part of the documents they need for job applications,” Loan said.
She further explained that students must all have their checkups on the same occasion to ensure that the results can be directly entered into the school’s database.
It is very time-consuming for the university to input the information from medical certificates students obtain from different health facilities, she added.
Only in special circumstances are students allowed to be absent from the health check, and they can submit medical certificates to the school at a later time, the officer noted.
The University of Social Sciences and Humanities is not the first school to mandate the check.
In 2015, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry organized a health examination event for over 2,000 students.
In 2014, the College of Education in the central city of Hue retracted a similar rule, concluding that having medical checks prior to graduation is optional.