Ministry detects violations in opening new majors in universities

Inspectors from the Ministry of Education and Training detected violations in opening new majors in many schools.

Students at Hoa Sen University

The 2018 Law on Higher Education allows higher education institutions to autonomously open training majors based on the criteria of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Circular 02/2022/TT-BGDDT on January 18, 2022.

According to the Ministry’s statistics, universities opened nearly 1,200 new majors from 2019 to August 2023. Inspectors from the Ministry of Education and Training performed inspections discovering many violations in the opening of new majors at universities in March 2023.

The Ministry of Education and Training Inspectorate has just announced inspection conclusions on the implementation of regulations on autonomously opening undergraduate and postgraduate training majors at many universities. For instance, Hoa Sen University has opened 15 undergraduate majors and one master's degree major in the period from 2020 to December 2022.

However, the inspection results showed that many university-level majors do have majors suitable to the majors expected to be opened.

Similarly, Hong Bang International University planned to open nine new majors but lecturers who were responsible for organizing the implementation of seven training programs at the same time didn't have suitable qualified degrees.

The University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the National University of Ho Chi Minh City autonomously opened a major when it did not meet the conditions for autonomy which is contrary to the present regulations.

In particular, although the school was not yet eligible for autonomy according to the provisions of the Law on Higher Education by September 9, 2022, the school issued a decision to open three majors with university degrees, two master's degree majors and one doctoral degree major with the school's seal.

Not only universities in Ho Chi Minh City but other local schools also have similar violations.

Worse, in some majors, the school did not adequately survey social needs, leading to poor enrollment after opening the major. As a consequence, the school stopped enrolment of 11 majors in 2022 and two other majors in 2023.

According to the Circular 02, to open a new major, a training facility must ensure the criteria for teaching staff and facilities as well as prove the social requirements of the human resource for new majors which educational establishments plan to open. However, schools have carried out surveys and forecasts carelessly leading to some schools have had to stop enrolling students after opening new majors due to poor enrolment.

Take Hoa Sen University as an example. Out of 15 majors that were opened at Hoa Sen University from 2020 to 2022, six majors could have enough students as planned and four majors stopped enrollment in 2023. The school has conducted an incomplete survey of social needs, leading to no enrollment or very low enrollment since opening new majors.

Hong Bang International University opened nine majors between 2020 and 2022, but later, the school had to stop the enrollment of seven majors since they did not closely forecast social needs, leading to enrolment failure. The school stopped student enrolment in majors such as Chinese studies, Korean studies, Japanese studies, Physical education, Fashion design, Industrial management, and Construction engineering.

In addition, out of a total of 33 university-level majors, there are up to 10 majors that are not included in the statistical list of university-level training majors. Among the 10 majors included in the training list, lecturers who are responsible for managing the major faculty have doctorate degrees but their training majors are not clear.

For the same reason of careless survey of social needs when opening the major was not complete, in 2022 and 2023, many universities had to stop enrolling students because no students registered to study at schools.

It’s worth mentioning that when surveying the needs of society, schools listed a series of companies and businesses that need to recruit human resources in the next 4 or 5 years, but in reality, no learners are interested in studying in these fields. Inspectors of the Ministry of Education and Training have punished a number of schools for not maintaining all conditions after a short time of opening new majors.

Furthermore, some schools had to transfer students who registered in these schools to other schools because these schools had no textbooks and lecturers with doctoral degrees.

Accordingly, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Hoang Minh Son said that when opening new majors, schools must determine whether they are suitable for current and future trends and needs of society. Another important point is that the school must have enough capacity to ensure quality. Schools must publicize all admission data including lecturers, facilities, programs, and admission methods transparently to help candidates choose schools of their choice.

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