Education Ministry’s project to produce 9,000 PhDs: Is it working?

Last update 07:10 | 26/01/2018
VietNamNet Bridge – The project on producing 23,000 PhDs for universities and junior colleges in 2010-2020, or Project 911, capitalized at VND14 trillion, failed at the end of 2016 as many targets were unattainable. As anticipated, the Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) had to stop enrolling PhD students in 2017.


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Vietnam plans to produce more PhDs

Only 2,062 PhD students were enrolled in 2012-2016 for domestic training courses, fulfilling 36 percent of the enrollment plan.

In principle, 703 PhD students were due to finish the research period, but only 165, or 23 percent of PhD students, completed the courses and successfully defended their dissertations.

MOET planned to send 1,300 PhD students to joint training programs in both Vietnam and overseas in 2012-2016, but only one was reported studying in France at that time.

Also in this period, 2,926 PhD students got approval for attending overseas courses, but only 1,961, or 34 percent, could fulfill procedures to go abroad.

MOET set up higher requirements on PhDs to be produced under Project 911 than other training programs. However, analysts said they cannot see any difference.

PhD training centers were established with investment capital of VND9 billion, which was spent on foreign language labs, curricula and necessary skills to prepare PhD students for training courses.

In principle, 703 PhD students were due to finish the research period, but only 165, or 23 percent of PhD students, completed the courses and successfully defended their dissertations.

However, the State Audit found that the centers’ operation was ineffective, while compiled documents were not used, which was a big waste of state money.

While the failure of the PhD production project was a hot topic on education forums, MOET has built a new plan for the 2018-2025 period, capitalized at VND12 trillion, aiming to produce 9,000 PhDs.

The move surprised many experts, who believe that MOET should find the reasons behind the failure of Project 911 before it goes ahead with another plan.

Dao Trong Thi, former chair of the NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, pointed out that it was difficult to enroll PhD students under Project 911 because the project was unattractive to university lecturers because of a low budget and high requirements.

Hoang Mai Phuong from the Hanoi University of Education commented that MOET should learn lessons from the failure of project, not hurry to create another project.

Nguyen Van Vinh, former deputy head of the Institute for Social Research and Development, expressed his disappointment about the MOET’s new plan.

“MOET seems not to intend to learn lessons from the failure, but it just tries to draw up another project to get the disbursement of VND12 trillion,” he said.

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