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As easy as producing theses for graduate programs

Last update: 06:50 | 11/09/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - Experts believe that the low quality of master’s and PhD theses is the consequence of the training system in which both students and teachers do not strive for genuine academic achievement.



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MOET inspectors who examined training at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) found a special case: P.V.T was a research student at VASS for a doctorate. 

T had a master’s degree granted by Griggs University, but did not follow the procedures to have the degree recognized in Vietnam. Under current laws, T did not meet the requirements to become PhD student. However, T still successfully defended a dissertation and obtained a doctorate in September 2015.

Experts believe that the low quality of master’s and PhD theses is the consequence of the training system in which both students and teachers do not strive for genuine academic achievement.

T is now deputy chair of a province in a mountainous province in the north.

Pham Van Duc, VASS’ director, said that VASS doesn’t think about whether the doctorates granted to T and others should be reconsidered. 

“Of the postgraduates, many were state officials. If they had their degrees revoked, their political careers would end,” he said.

Ngo Huy Cuong from Law Faculty of the Hanoi National University said a high-ranking official in law was once a PhD student at the faculty. The dissertation of the official was bad with many mistakes and an old topic. However, he still finally successfully defended the dissertation and got a doctorate.

A university lecturer said schools are ashamed about postgraduates who are incapable but are high-ranking officials in ministries.

The requirements for state officers set by Ministry of Interior Affairs have also been cited as a reason behind the unhealthy environment in post-university training.

“If the Ministry of Interior Affairs continues assessing officers’ capability based on their degrees, we will have a cadre with high-level degrees but with low real capability,” said Trinh Ngoc Thach from the Hanoi University of Social Sciences.

Thach said that many people attend training courses not because they want to have better scientific knowledge, but they strive for ‘non-scientific purposes’, so they don’t care about ‘scientific content’ in dissertations. 

“Theses and dissertations are just a ‘performance tool’ for form’s sake to end a training process,” he commented.

The university lecturer noted that high ranking officials who want to obtain degrees to embellish their CVs tend to choose social sciences.

“It is more difficult to follow the studies in natural sciences because postgraduates have to meet international standards. The required standards in social sciences are not really clear,” he explained.

Tran Ngoc Vuong from Hanoi National University thinks there are two groups of people who study for a master’s degree and doctorate. The first includes unemployed people who study to kill free time and the second for promotion in their career.


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Le Van

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