Last update: 13:47 | 11/09/2017
A draft amendment to higher education law proposes clarifying university assessment measures and making them uniform so that university rankings can be more precise in the future.
Graduates from University of Languages and International Studies under National University Hanoi at a graduation ceremony.
The draft, proposed by the Ministry of Education and Training, is intended to bring Vietnam’s university ranking system in line with international ranking schemes, and ultimately improve the country’s university system.
Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, Director of the ministry’s Higher Education Department, told local media that after the Law on Higher Education was approved by National Assembly in 2015, Government issued a decree on university ranking and the ministry completed a draft instruction on university ranking last year.
According to the decree, one of the ranking criteria is quality assessment results complied by the universities, independent assessors and the education ministry.
However, Phung said that the assessment and ranking required a reliable database, based on established scientific criteria and agreed upon and implemented by multiple stakeholders.
The complicated process was blamed for the delay of a publication of Vietnam University rankings in the past, Phung said.
“Ranking is for reference. However, a ranking without care could have negative effects on the reputations of ranked universities or provide confusing information,” she said.
Some universities could take advantage of inexact rankings to collect higher tuition fees. They could concentrate on investing in major ranking criteria to gain a higher rank while ignoring lesser criteria, instead of focusing on learners’ demands, she said.
The official made the comments after a group of independent experts publicised the country’s first university ranking early last week.
The group included Dr Luu Quang Hung, a researcher working in Melbourne, Dr Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Director of the Hanoi-based Development and Policies Research Centre and Dr Giap Van Duong, an education expert who has conducted postdoctoral research in physics and chemistry in Europe. Consultancy was also provided by Vietnamese professors at the University of New South Wales and Pantheon-Sorbonne University.
The group ranked universities based on three criteria: scientific research, education quality, and infrastructure and management.
According to the ranking, Vietnam National University Hanoi topped the list of 49 schools. Next came HCM City’s Ton Duc Thang University, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Da Nang University and Vietnam National University HCM City.
Some of the so-called top business universities gained modest positions, including Foreign Trade University (23rd), National Economic University (30th), Vietnam University of Commerce (29th) and Academy of Finance (40th).
According to the independent ranking group, the business universities have few international scientific reports and their staff are teaching classes beyond their expertise.
Luu Quang Hung said at the ranking launch that they faced difficulties in collecting and sorting data because the universities followed different models and lacked comparable data sets.
The researchers worked for three years to produce the ranking which Hung said was intended for public reference, but he added that he hoped Vietnam’s universities would use them to guide improvements.