Innovation strategies for university enrolment must be at national level

After the SGGP Newspaper started publishing a series of articles on Renovating university entrance exams and admissions, it received feedback from leaders of the Ministry of Education and Training as well as experienced educationists and admissions experts.
Innovation strategies for university enrolment must be at national level ảnh 1 illustrative photo by SGGP
According to experts, organizers of university entrance examinations and admissions necessarily consider the strategic thinking and practices of advanced countries in the world to have a comprehensive, wide-ranging view and select what’s most suitable for the country’s conditions.
The current trend suggested by experts is to return the high school graduation exams to localities to organize themselves, not to involve universities and colleges. Graduation consideration and improvement measurement for high school education.
According to educationists, local authorities should organize high school graduation examinations without the interference of colleges and universities.
Mr. Pham Thai Son, Director of the Center for Admissions and Communication of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry, said currently, the high school graduation exam used for many purposes is too difficult. It is illogical that universities have based on the examination result for enrolment at the same time. According to him, in the long term, the organization of the high school graduation exam should be done by local administrations according to the program's output standards. The National Testing Center needs to have assessment criteria so that schools and local administrations can use them. This approach is both consistent with the policy of autonomy in the enrollment work of the schools, as well as ensures the quality of assessment work.
Meanwhile, Associate Professor. Nguyen Phuong Nga from the Institute of Measurement and Evaluation of Education Development cum the leader of the project ‘Research and propose a plan to evaluate and recognize high school graduation and university enrollment to meet the requirements of the new general education program’ proposed two assessment options to recognize high school graduation.
The first option is that high schools will issue certificates of completion of the high school program to students who have completed the program and met the conditions of the Ministry of Education; students who have a certificate will register to take the national high school exam to be awarded a high school diploma by the municipal or provincial Department of Education and Trainings, and the high school exam is organized 2-3 times a year by the Department of Education and Trainings, and candidates can choose the time to take the exam.
The second is that high schools are eligible for organizing on-the-spot exams for students who have completed the high school program, according to the exam questions designed by the professional testing center of the Ministry of Education and Training. Students who are successful in making the cut are granted a certificate of completion of the high school program; therefore, they are eligible for registering to participate in the national high school exam to be granted a high school diploma.
Regarding university enrollment, Associate Professor Nguyen Thu Thuy, Director of the Higher Education Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, said that the Ministry of Education and Training advocates maintaining the enrollment plan for universities and colleges of pedagogy in 2022 and subsequent years.
The Ministry only adjusts the implementation technique in order to simplify the procedures, creating the best support conditions for candidates and training institutions, and at the same time overcome some of the past shortcomings, improve the fairness of the process, and enrollment. These contents have been discussed and agreed upon at a recent conference and will be included in the upcoming enrollment regulations.
Besides, the Ministry of Education and Training has also gradually upgraded the software system to support candidates to register for the high school graduation exam and apply for online admission. This system will also connect to the National Database on Population and integrate into the National Public Service Portal.
The Ministry of Education and Training will strengthen inspection; thereby, promptly correcting gaps in legal documents and correcting higher education institutions that do not comply with regulations. Inspectors from the Ministry will issue punishment on violating schools according to the provisions of the Decree on sanctioning administrative violations in the field of education.
From the perspective of testing experts, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Chinh, Director of the Center for Testing and Evaluation of Training Quality under the National University of Ho Chi Minh City, said that, when there is a policy to innovate and improve the exam, the Ministry of Education and Training must necessarily have a specific orientation and roadmap.
Concerning the renovation of high school exams and university admissions in education, he supposed this issue must be considered seriously and scientifically. Analysis of the implementation experience of the past 20 years ought to be necessarily carried out, and at the same time, the Ministry should learn more from other countries in the world.
Simultaneously, it is necessary to clearly define the system model, development orientation, and roadmap before making improvements. When there is no thorough preparation, it should not be determined to develop independent testing centers; not to mention great consideration of the implementation of education models in countries around the world with the country’s actual conditions.
According to Dr. Nguyen Quoc Chinh, Director of Vietnam National University – Họ Chi Minh City Center For Educational testing and Quality Assessment, nearly 1 million candidates participate in the annual high school graduation exam nationwide, so at all costs, the interests of students must be taken into account when carrying out renovation and improvements in organizing the examination or else the consequence will be unpredictable.
The education sector needs to look at this issue more comprehensively and systematically. Many issues need to be clarified before the renovation; for instance, what model and structure will Vietnam's testing and evaluation system have? Does this model refer to the experiences of countries around the world? Along with that, what mechanisms and policies need to be implemented to ensure the development of these centers, and what is the mechanism for monitoring, evaluating and accrediting the centers?
Dr. Hoang Ngoc Vinh, a member of the Advisory Group of the National Education Innovation Committee for the 2016-2021 period, said that to solve the problem of high school graduation and university entrance exams, the Ministry of Education and Training must soon develop a policy to establish independent testing centers.
In the context of a large population, the trend of decentralization to the locality, and the autonomy of higher education, it is advisable to assign the locality to organize the high school graduation exam according to the standard exam bank. The locality is primarily responsible for ensuring the quality of education, and the university can take the results of that exam, or organize a separate exam according to the standard exam questions and combine it with other recruitment methods to suit the field of study.
According to Hua Minh Tuan, former Vice-Rector of the University of Finance and Marketing in Ho Chi Minh City, the issue of exams is a very complicated matter, so it can't be done as like in the past. The Ministry of Education and Training has made efforts to improve the high school graduation examination as recognized by the SGGP Newspaper.
However, the way to do it is not strategic and long-term, so it always encounters many problems. Therefore, the upcoming innovation direction needs to solve the following problems including separation of the high school graduation exam and university entrance exam, exams to assess candidates’ competency for university admissions.
Therefore, a national test center and a national exam bank are what the education sector must start implementing. Experienced teachers and experts must take part in developing a bank of exam questions and building an examination center in addition to financial resources and learning from the world's experience.

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