University education: many universities, few teachers16:36' 29/11/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – By the end of August 2007, Vietnam had 325 universities, institutes and
colleges, including 45 non-state universities and colleges, according to the Ministry of Education
and Training (MOET). These include 25 newly established universities, 17 of which are state-
owned and 8 people founded. The education scale of the 2006-2007 academic year is 10.21%
bigger than the previous year.
Education scale up, quality down
The overly rapid increase in education scale has led to the
decrease in education quality. Lecturers now have to spend
most of their time teaching, while they do not have time for
scientific researches. At the Trade University, for example, the
average teaching hours of lecturers is 422 hours a year, 162%
higher than the required hours under the current regulations.
While the education scale has become bigger, the number of
lecturers has not seen any considerable changes. According to
MOET, the number of lecturers that has doctoral and PhD
degrees in 2007 increased by 12% only compared to 2006.
Among the 25 newly set up universities, 11, including Bac Lieu,
Phu Yen, Hoa Lu-Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Tien Giang and Tra Vinh, do not have any professor or
associate professor. These new universities also have low numbers of the lecturers with doctoral
and master’s degrees (200 doctors, 7%, and 1,260 masters, 48% of total). As such, 44% of
lecturers at these universities only have bachelor’s degrees.
Giving more autonomy to universities?
Vietnam is striving to have 200 students per 10,000 people by 2010, and 450 students per 10,000
people by 2020. A lot of universities will be set up the future.
However, a question has been raised: What does Vietnam need to do to ensure the education
Dr Peter J. Gray from the US Navy Institute said after learning about Vietnam’s university
education that the government should give full autonomy to universities, including autonomy in
building curricula and enrolment.
Experts, on one hand, acknowledge that autonomy is necessary to reform education and training,
on the other hand, think that it is too early to give universities autonomy now, when a lot of
shortcomings in education still exist.
According to Nguyen Duc Nghia, Deputy Director of the HCM City National University, autonomy
should be given to several capable universities, particularly state-owned ones.
The biggest problem for university education now is the qualifications of lecturers and scientists.
Under the roadmap on renovating universities and colleges, universities are to apply the credit-
based education. However, in fact, many universities are still not ready for this.