Project 911 on PhD training ‘dies’, new plan proposed

Last update 07:10 | 23/11/2017
VietNamNet Bridge – Project 911 on producing 20,000 PhDs in the 2010-2020 period has not succeeded because of unreasonable financial policies.

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According to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), after five years of implementation (2012-2016), only 3,800 PhD students have been trained under Project 911, a small figure compared with the target of 20,000 PhDs.

A budget of VND14 trillion was allocated to implement Project 911, of which 64 percent was for overseas training, 20 percent for domestic training and 14 percent for both domestic and overseas training. In addition, 2 percent was reserved for foreign language training and other skills training in Vietnam. The state spent 94 percent of the total expenses.

Nguyen Hoi Nghia, deputy president of the HCMC National University, commented the achievements of the project ‘are unclear’, while many problems exist.

A budget of VND14 trillion was allocated to implement Project 911, of which 64 percent was for overseas training, 20 percent for domestic training and 14 percent for both domestic and overseas training. In addition, 2 percent was reserved for foreign language training and other skills training in Vietnam.

The first problem is the slow disbursement due to complicated procedures. Second, the ministries’ management work needs improvement. Doing research is a special field with uncertain outcomes, so it is necessary to apply more reasonable measures to help PhD students fulfill their training courses.

Do Van Dung from the HCMC University of Education & Technology pointed out that Project 911 failed partially because of the students’ poor foreign language skills. Under the project, 500-600 PhD students can be enrolled each year, but only 200 can meet the requirements. Meanwhile, the project doesn’t fund the training of foreign language skills.

He said that it is difficult to enroll PhD students under the project because of unattractive offers. Candidates have to consider training opportunities thoroughly because they may have worse working conditions and pay after finishing the training.

Le Trung Chon, head of the Postgraduate Training division of the HCMC University of Science & Technology, complained that MOF (the Ministry of Finance) cut the spending rate on technology-majoring domestic training to VND70 million from the initially planned VND200 million.

He warned that Vietnam needs to learn the lesson from implementing the project on training 9,000 PhDs. If the expenditures are not sufficient, PhD students will go abroad and stay where they have better conditions to carry out research and have better income.

According to Dung, the training cost for one PhD student overseas is an average $30,000 per annum, with accommodation and meals costing around $10,000.

Meanwhile, only VND12 trillion was allocated to the training of 9,000 PhDs. “We cannot produce high-quality PhDs with such a low cost,” Dung said.

MOET is moving ahead with another plan on training PhDs with the estimated budget of VND12 trillion.

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