The debate on which organization has the right to grant professorship titles was reignited when the president of the HCMC Medical & Pharmaceutical University released a decision on granting the title of Professor/Associate Professor Emeritus to scientists who have contributed to the school’s development.

Dao Trong Thi, former chair of the NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, said there are two different terms: Professor and Professor Emeritus. The former is a professional title associated with positions and jobs. The latter is a title to honor someone.

Universities can award the title of Professor Emeritus, and the recipients are mostly foreigners who have merit in the cooperation for school development.

“Professor Emeritus doesn’t have academic value. It is just an award for someone’s credit,” he explained.

In Vietnam, it is the State Professorship Title Council which has the task of recognizing professors/associate professors. Those who meet the requirements must be nominated by universities.

The model in Vietnam is also applied in some countries. Meanwhile, in many other countries, schools appoint professors, and do not bestow professorship titles and there is no state’s professorship council in charge of recognizing candidates meeting requirements to become professors.

According to Pham Thi Ly, a renowned educator, Vietnam needs to choose one of two ways. First, maintaining the current policy and the State Academic Title Council, while fixing the existing problems. Second, changing the thoughts about professorship and giving universities the right to nominate professors.

If the second way is chosen, the State will set up procedures and standards to nominate professors, or it will just ask universities to publicize their procedures and standards with no intervention into the schools’ nomination.

The second option is more in line with international practice.

Ly said that there are some existing problems in the procedures of giving professorship titles.

“Some scientists are professors, but their scientific profiles and prestige cannot convince the academic circle,” she said.

She went on to say that candidates for professorship must be selected through three different rounds, which seem to be very strict. But in fact, the procedure is not made public and lacks transparency.

Meanwhile, Thi believes that there must be a professorship council in Vietnam, of the professors to be nominated by different schools will have different qualifications.

“Because of the current specific conditions, the policy under which schools nominate their professors still can be applied in Vietnam,” he said.

VietNamNet Bridge - October 13, 2017