|Interview with Thanh Nien News Regarding A World Class University for Vietnam|
|Người gửi: Phạm Thị Ly|
INTERVIEW WITH THANH NIEN NEWS
By Lê Thu Hương
1. Mr. Thomas Vallely, director of the Vietnam Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University told Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during their discussion in Texas that almost all developing countries have failed to establish a world-class university. What do you think of the above statement? Is Vietnam in such a situation?
Dr. Vu Thi Phuong Anh: Absolutely probable; although that doesn’t mean it should not be done, only that the difficulties should be recognized in order to overcome them and to achieve the necessary determination and patience.
Dr. Pham Thi Ly: It is in fact possible and what needs to be taken into consideration is the reason behind these failures. If developing countries see world-class universities as a trend to be followed rather than focusing on the core factor which is the values of a university, failure would be inevitable.
2. Do you think it is the right time to be talking about establishing world-class universities? Or should we be focusing on renovating the bureaucracy of the previous education system?
Dr. Vũ Thị Phương Anh Establishing world-class universities and renovating the bureaucracy are not oppositing sides to choose one or another. In fact, building world-class universities is a long process and renovation of the bureaucracy may be the first step!
Dr. Phạm Thị Ly: Being “world-class” should not be the goal of all Vietnamese universities. It is impossible and not advisable to have a higher education system in which all universities are world-class universities. Vietnam needs a diverse and highly stratified higher education system with each segment responding to certain different demands of the society. At the top of this system there needs to be some elite universities oriented towards the standards of a world-class university. Those will be the ones that gather the greatest scholars and the most intelligent students of the country. A world-class university is fundamentally a research university and as such they will lead not only higher education but the economic and social development of the country. They will be an ideal model for the whole system, although the government should still encourage a diverse system.
3- Building a world-class university needs not only sufficient financial ability, which we are still having difficulties with, but also many other factors. What do you think are the greatest difficulties we will have to face?
Dr. Vũ Thị Phương Anh: The greatest difficulty right now is absolutely not money, because there are many ways to get finance, including loans. Currently, I am involved in a research group researching on the topic of world-class university for the MOET and we have, for the time being, agreed on the 5 factors that can be used to relatively comprehensively describe (and measure) a university.
These five factors are: 1. The spiritual values of a university (university values for short); 2. Management and administration mechanism; 3. Resources (human, academic, infrastructure, finance); 4. Fields and operating process (fields of training, research, services provided to the society); and 5. Reputation. Among these five, I consider 4 and 5 to be the inevitable results of 1, 2 and 3, therefore only these three need to be focused on.
Among these three, I think the resources factor is the easiest, the first factor actually requires a lot of time, but is achievable with a good management and administration mechanism in which scholars are truly respected and encouraged to realize their greatest academic potential. A good mechanism will create a culture appropriate with the values I called university values, and these two factors along with sufficient resources will obviously result in the rest of the factors.
Dr. Phạm Thị Ly: Personally I think it is most difficult to create a mechanism appropriate for both the standards of a world-class university and the social-economic and well as cultural situation of our country. Money isn’t a problem, neither is talented human resources, but it is important that the money is used wisely and at the right places. Without such a mechanism failure is inevitable no matter how much money is spent.
Dr. Vũ Thị Phương Anh: My previous response has partially answered this question, hasn’t it? In other words, first there needs to be a proper management and administration mechanism in which scholars – intellectuals – are respected and encouraged (both financially and spiritually) to maximize their potential. Furthermore, there needs to be sufficient resources for trianing (human, infrastructure, finance). If these two conditions are fulfilled then the other factors of a university will be their inevitable results.
Dr. Phạm Thị Ly: World-class university is the destination of a long and difficult road. I believe that we have the ability to establish some world-class university in the future, the problem is how long and how much. We need to be realistic, not to be pessimistic, but to clearly identify each milestone on this road and to determine the necessary conditions for each stage.
5. Do you think Vietnam is in the middle of a crisis in higher education? Why?
Dr. Vũ Thị Phương Anh: I personally think yes. For quite a long time, Vietnamese education has only focused on quantity and has been “producing” low quality products to the extent that they have become the norms of Vietnamese education. In other words, the deceit of learners, laziness of teachers (copying from others’ work, plagiarizing others’ and even students’ works) have become normal; all of these have heavily deteriorate the quality of education and will leave long-term negative effects.
Dr. Phạm Thị Ly: I also think yes. If we don’t have the courage to look at the truth and accept conflicts there will never be any changes.
6. Mr. David Dapice of Harvard University has said that Vietnam is one of the few countries that do not have top universities but is fully capable of building such institutions. We have talked too much about difficulties, what do you think are Vietnam’s advantages in this?
Dr. Vũ Thị Phương Anh: Our strengths: traditional values and the Vietnamese people itself. We should be proud of our studious tradition; studying is not just a personal matter but also of the family, the neighborhood and even at the national level. Combining this tradition with other highly praised traits of the Vietnamese people such as intelligence, persistence, determination, we are fully capable of building some world-class universities in the future, but when exactly is this future depends on the above mentioned factors; it will certainly be many more decades and this is normal even with more developed countries than ours.
Dr. Phạm Thị Ly: Our current advantage is the support given by the government and the strong determination of the MOET. Vietnamese higher education is lagging behind but this has certain positive effects: we have had many lessons of success and failures to learn from.
|Cập nhật ( 20/08/2008 )|
|< Trước||Tiếp >|