Vietnamese universities to raise admission criteria

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) states that in the upcoming academic year, universities in Vietnam must stop using unsuitable subject combinations to accept new students. Neither can they lower admission grades to attract more people. Autonomy is encouraged among these educational institutes, as long as they are able to ensure admission and training quality.

Students of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry learning in a lab. (Photo: SGGP)
Students of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry learning in a lab. (Photo: SGGP)

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha affirmed in the meeting about university entrance tasks for the 2020 academic year that weaknesses existing in the previous year must be addressed thoroughly, especially those related to low admission grades and unsuitable subject combinations.

In addition, universities should introduce majors that can answer practical needs of the market and avoid focusing on low-demand ones.

Autonomy in entrance examination is encouraged (via competency assessment or skill test), yet it should observe regulations in the Law of Education (effective as of July 1, 2020) and Law of Higher Education (effective as of July 1, 2019).

Results of the high school graduation examination can also be used, so universities themselves should devise the most appropriate admission plan to closely collaborate with high schools and gain the highest possible result.

One novelty feature of this year’s entrance exam is that MoET has asked 20 experts in the field to prepare adjusted admission criteria for the high-quality program so that the passing score is equal or higher than that of the popular ones.

In the meeting, representatives of some universities pointed out certain illogical details of those proposed criteria. Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City suggested to change the term ‘passing score’ in the high-quality program to ‘threshold to ensure quality’, saying that a passing score is low or not depending on the number of registration. Since this special program has its own admission target and selection method, it will be extremely difficult to use the same score regulated by MoET for normal higher education programs.

However, Deputy Director General of the Higher Education Department commented that universities must prepare to answer the government’s question if there is a case when a high-quality program collects higher school fee yet issues a lower admission score than normal ones just because the quantity of registration is not large.

According to Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, Director General of the Higher Education Department, only 64 percent of people satisfying the passing score of last year’s entrance exam actually signed up, while many disciplines encountered difficulties attracting sufficient learners as they were not in high demand. She said that the government should pay a special attention and place a clear training order for these disciplines.

Regarding teacher training in the 2020 academic year, Dr. Phung stated that MoET should only hold a college-leveled program for kindergarten teachers.

Universities that organize new disciplines should carefully consider their training ability and the practical demand of the corresponding industries, with the target of no more than 50 new students per one new discipline. Tourism and information technology are the two disciplines that have their own targets for universities which run training programs for two years and over.

The new regulation asks that visiting lecturers must at least have a master degree of the field or a bachelor degree and three to five years of experience. The total proportion of visiting lecturers cannot surpass 40 percent of the full-time one.

MoET will continue to identify the threshold to ensure quality in the teaching and medicine disciplines. However, this year, it will introduce the synchronous thresholds for different training modes.

There are stricter regulations to fine people, both test takers, invigilators, and related officers, violating rules in the university entrance examination to better honor the national law in the autonomy process.

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