Vietnam plans higher requirements for professors
The draft regulations on standards and procedures for appointment and dismissal of professors shows the Ministry of Education & Training's (MOET) determination to upgrade the quality of professors and associate professors.
However, Prof Ngo Viet Trung from the Mathematics Institute commented that higher requirements have only been set on training and scientific research achievements, not on professional qualifications, warning that this will affect Vietnam’s education in the long term.
According to Trung, in international practice, one must have at least two scientific articles published on ISI/Scopus journals to be eligible to defend doctoral thesis.
In Vietnam, one just needs to publish at least one article on ISI/Scopus to become a candidate for associate professor.
Some analysts argue that Vietnam should only set low requirements on professors because Vietnam’s science and education are still at low levels of development.
However, Trung believes that low requirements will produce poorly qualified teachers and students.
Therefore, Trung asked to raise the minimum requirements on candidates for the title of associate professor/professor, and the requirements must be higher than requirements on PhDs in accordance with international practice.
In fact, Vietnamese scientists now have to satisfy requirements to be able to be recognized as professors/associate professors. For example, they have to publish at least six scientific articles or three textbooks.
However, the requirements are impractical as it is very easy to publish articles in scientific journals.
A university lecturer in Hanoi said he knows associates professors who published four to five articles in one volume of the journals published by the schools where they worked.
In general, the scientific articles and textbooks of this kind don’t truly reflect the professional qualifications of the authors.
The Mathematics Institute has proposed to set specific requirements on professors/associate professors in natural sciences, because Vietnam’s natural sciences have come close to international levels.
The proposal has been advocated by Tran Duy Quy, former head of the Institute of Agricultural Genetics of Vietnam. He believes that each sector has its own characteristics, and needs specific standards.
Vietnam now has 9,000 professors and associate professors, 24,000 PhDs and 100,000 MAs, but the number of published scientific articles in the last 15 years was less than 1/5 of Tokyo University alone (69,806).
Pham Bich San, deputy secretary general of the Vietnam Union of Science & Technology Associations (VUSTA), commented that Vietnam has the highest number of professors and PhDs, but no Vietnamese universities are listed among the world’s top 500 universities.
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