University accreditation: ‘a game of the rich’?

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Educators agree that Vietnam’s universities need to be accredited, but they have not reached a consensus on how it should be done. 

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There are 16 university ranking organizations, including the four most prestigious – THE (Times High Education), QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities), and Webometrics (Webometrics Ranking of World Universities). According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Phuc, none of the rankings is ‘perfect’ and Vietnam needs to use the one suited to it. 
 
ARWU, for example, attaches importance to scientific articles published in international journals. QS doesn’t put much emphasis on articles, but pays attention to comments by experts and society. Agreeing with Phuc, deputy director of the Hanoi National University Nguyen Huu Duc said that ARWU and THE are not suited to most universities in Asia and developing countries.
 
The weak point of Vietnamese universities lies in the modest number of internationally published scientific articles.  Deputy director of the HCMC National University Nguyen Hoi Nghia advocates having Vietnam’s universities accredited in accordance with QS Asia.

ARWU and THE are not suited to most universities in Asia and developing countries. The weak point of Vietnamese universities lies in the modest number of internationally published scientific articles. 

“Two of the three most prestigious rankings put emphasis on scientific research which doesn’t fit Vietnam’s tertiary education situation,” he said. 
 
Meanwhile, some analysts warned that accreditation, in many cases, is too connected to money. Vietnam’s universities have received many invitations recently to attend workshops on university accreditation and have to pay big money if they confirm attendance. 
 
One of the educators’ biggest concerns when having their schools accredited is the expenditure. Nguyen Van Minh, rector of the Hanoi University of Education, said universities need financial support from the state, or this is just the ‘game of the rich’ as ‘poor’ universities don’t have money to join the game. Nguyen Loc from Nguyen Tat Thanh University said that state should give financial support of $10,000-20,000 to every school for accreditation. 
 
Vietnam has six universities in 2017 QS Asia ranking. Hanoi National University is in the 139th position of the ranking, while HCMC National University is 142nd.  The Hanoi University of Science & Technology is in the group of schools ranked from 291st to 300th, while Can Tho University in 301st-350th and Hue University in 351st-400th.
 
Some universities believe it would be better to have a ranking specifically designed for Vietnamese universities, saying that though there are many rankings, none of them fits Vietnam. Minister of Education Phung Xuan Nha said the ministry is going to consult with universities and experts on whether to design a ranking specifically for Vietnam and if so, determine which criteria will be set up for the ranking.

Thanh Lich

Source: VietNamNet

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