Vietnam to announce first-ever university rankings

For the first time in Vietnam, an education watchdog under the Vietnam National University-Hanoi will rank local universities this year, a representative said at a recent conference in Hanoi.

The conference, titled Universities Ranking: Global Trend and Viewpoints, was organized by the Center for Education Quality Assurance and Research Development (CEQARD) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) last week.

Both local and international education researchers and experts took part.

Local universities will be categorized into three groups: those offering doctoral degrees, those offering master’s degrees, and those offering bachelor’s degrees, said Director Nguyen Phuong Nga of CEQARD.

The schools will then be ranked within their categories according to their quality of education and research, she said.

The schools will also be ranked generally in accordance with criteria set by CEQARD, Nga added.

The center will collect data to launch the project this year and will not evaluate any new schools whose first intake of students have yet to graduate.

The rankings are anticipated to be announced early next year.

University rankings have become a global trend, said Nga, and in Vietnam, demand for such information is growing.

Education and Training Deputy Minister Banh Tien Long told Thanh Nien that a ranking system would give universities an incentive to improve their standards, but needs to be carefully considered.

MoET is also in the process of assessing the quality of local universities and expects to announce its results next year.

Vietnam aims to have one university ranked in the top 200 universities in the world by 2020.

In 2006, Vietnam had 139 universities, including 30 private schools, according to MoET.

Education has become a means to make money, and Vietnam grows poorer

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Education in Vietnam has become a system for making money: there is no freedom of thought in the schools and universities, and the only concern is for making a profit, not for forming young people, and this is impoverishing the country.

Everyone is conditioned and guided by the policies of the communist party, so that the education system is taking on an important role of protecting the regime. The system has degenerated and creates “san pham dzom,” bad results for the country. It even produces liars who are harming the country.

Many private schools and universities, and even state universities, are turning education into a business. The heads of educational institutions are looking at profits, and are forgetting or even defying the traditional values of Vietnamese culture. They are losing the tradition of student formation. “We are hired as ‘useful’ professors, but not as ‘good’ ones,” says an economics professor at the Institute of Accounting and Business Management in Ho Chi Minh City. “We are able to teach and sell knowledge for their profits. The more they have students the more they have money. The leaders of the educational units can service the city because they have ‘o du’ – ‘umbrella organization’ from local authorities, and working for the city’s police office. So they are producing students who are not well educated. Even students of master of business administration and doctorate programs of business administration do not need to write thesis and dissertation when studying the training courses”.

The local authorities are corrupted by the educational system. They have allowed educational offices to turn their work into a business. Their education is all about doing business and making money. Teachers and students have no freedom of thought: everything is conditions and guided by government agents, by “education officials.” Than, an English teacher at Open University in Ho Chi Minh City, tells AsiaNews, “Now the university is competitive with other ones. So the university runs follow advertisement and marketing with the lack of truthfulness. Viet Nam’s educational system from nursery schools to universities with persons who do business in education make advertisement by use of untrue words. Before 1975, Catholic universities, high schools and even elementary schools never did deceitful things like that. It is clear that education has declined and ‘made a headache’ for society with many bad phenomena such as imitation degrees, rote learning, theories but not practice, learning one way of ideological thinking.”

All of this impoverishes the country, with a poverty that is economic, moral, and educational, and allows no freedom of thought.

Vietnam-Germany University opens in Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi – A joint Vietnamese-German university, the first such collaboration between the two countries, has opened in Ho Chi Minh City, its director said Thursday. Wolf Rieck, president of the Vietnam-Germany University, said the school would initially offer degrees in civil and electrical engineering. The university is owned by the Vietnamese government.

“This is only the start,” Rieck said. “The master plan of the university follows the line that we build up master courses in business administration, health care and so on.

“The university opened as foreign manufacturers operating in Vietnam’s fast-growing economy complained of a severe shortage of skilled employees and said Vietnamese universities are not producing enough well-trained engineers.

A working paper issued in April by foreign manufacturers at the Vietnam Business Forum called for easier licensing for foreign educators in Vietnam as one of its top priorities.

At a ceremony Wednesday celebrating the university’s opening, Education and Training Minister Nguyen Tien Nhan said the school would “become a new model for the tertiary education system of Vietnam.

“The prime minister of the German state of Hesse, Roland Koch, who is visiting Vietnam, told Vietnamese media Monday that his state would contribute 1.5 million euros (2.12 million dollars) per year to the university’s operating costs, the same amount the German federal government plans to contribute.

Rieck, formerly president of the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main, said the university had accepted 70 students for its first semester but planned to expand the student body to 3,000 by 2020. The students are to spend their first year bringing their English up to a sufficient level to follow an engineering curriculum in English, which is to begin next year.

Rieck is the first foreign director of a state-owned university in Vietnam. The school is to follow a German-accredited engineering curriculum. Unlike domestic Vietnamese universities, students are not to be required to take political courses in subjects such as Ho Chi Minh Thought.

Vietnam-Germany University opens in Ho Chi Minh City : Education General

Carly Zalenski decided to build a school for children in Vietnam. It took her two years. She was 12.

Carly Zalenski’s eyes filled with tears as the dusty bus rattled down a dirt road in southern Vietnam. The 14-year-old and her family had traveled by plane from Canton, Ohio, to Ho Chi Minh City and then by bus deep into the Mekong Delta. Now, as they approached the village, hundreds of cheering schoolchildren lined the entrance to the Hoa Lac School, a two-story concrete building that Carly had raised money for.

Carly started helping others when she was eight, handing out Thanksgiving baskets at church to families in need. It was a snowy day, and she saw that one girl was wearing flip-flops and others didn’t have warm coats. The next November, she went door-to-door asking for used coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, then handed them out with the baskets.

But Carly wanted to do more-she wanted to “change lives,” she says. She remembered that her grandmother’s Rotary club had, years earlier, raised money to build a school in Vietnam. That was it, she decided. She’d build a school too.

She put together a PowerPoint presentation on the people and culture of Vietnam. At 12, barely able to see over the podium, she gave her first fund-raising pitch. Though her new braces made it hard to enunciate, she spoke with enthusiasm. “The kids in rural Vietnam don’t have decent schools,” she told a room of 200 Rotarians. “That’s not fair. I want to give them a place to make their lives better.”

That summer, Carly set off with her family across Ohio, visiting three or four Rotary clubs a week. “We traveled like crazy people to all these meetings,” recalls her mother, Kris.

The first few sessions yielded no donations. But one night, Carly and her dad, Fred, pulled up to a rundown building in Minerva, Ohio. Carrying a laptop, a projector, and a portable screen, they traipsed through a bar to a darkened back room where 15 Rotarians were sitting around a long table. There was dead silence and blank stares after Carly had finished. Fred thought, This is never going to work. Then someone made a motion: “Let’s give this girl a check right now.” Minutes later, an elated Carly walked out with her first donation: $500.

Not everyone was wild about the idea of giving back to a Communist country. “Why should we help Vietnam?” asked one veteran. Carly replied simply, “They’re kids. And I’m just a kid who wants to help out.”

As word spread, individual donors sent checks for as little as $5. A restaurant chain contributed $1,000. Carly’s karate teacher organized a tournament that netted $4,000. A Bible camp chipped in to help buy 500 backpacks for the children.

In two years, Carly had raised $50,000, a sum that was matched by the Vietnam Children’s Fund.

At the dedication ceremony in Hoa Lac, the school principal was impressed with the ninth grader. “How wonderful,” he said through a translator, “that a girl her age wanted to do something for kids so far away.”

UNICEF Launches Initiative to Provide Assistance to Children With Disabilities in Vietnam

NEW YORK, April 9, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — The U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced today the launch of a fundraising campaign to raise $1 million to bring quality healthcare and education services to all children living with disabilities throughout Vietnam, including many that may be affected by exposure to dioxin left over from the spraying of Agent Orange during the war.

All donations to UNICEF’s program will be matched dollar for dollar by a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation, which has been funding work that addresses the environmental and health legacy of Agent Orange/dioxin since 2000.

The funds raised will help UNICEF coordinate a community-based pilot intervention program in the south-central city of Da Nang, providing healthcare, nutrition, clean water and sanitation, as well as training to social workers, teachers and welfare workers.

Actress Tea Leoni, who is a U.S. Fund board member and who recently visited Da Nang, said: “As a mother, after seeing the pain of children and their families, I implore others to join this important campaign so that no child lives without the care and assistance so desperately needed.”

“We are thrilled to have developed a partnership with The Ford Foundation to make an impact in the lives of the estimated 1.2 million children with disabilities in Vietnam,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We are committed to building an environment where top quality services are available to every child in the country.”

UNICEF has a long history of cooperation with the Government in Vietnam and has been implementing successful programs in the country since 1975.

The exact number of children with disabilities in Vietnam is unknown, as many parents have never sought treatment for their children, enrolled them in school or inquired to see if they qualified for social support. As such, in order to have an accurate count of children that require assistance, as well as a clear understanding of their needs, UNICEF and its partners will first work towards identifying all of the disabled children in Da Nang.

Added Ms Leoni: “The situation for children with disabilities is extremely difficult. With few care options, many are confined to their beds with little or no prospects for their future. Families without assistance are relegated to their homes to care for their children — depriving them of the opportunity to work, earn a living or interact with their communities. Caring for children with disabilities is literally a 24-hour-a-day job.”

The community-based pilot program will provide a comprehensive package of services specifically designed to be inclusive of children with disabilities. This program will, include: training health workers and caregivers to properly monitor the health and nutrition status of children living with disabilities, developing water and sanitation facilities in schools that specifically focus on meeting the needs of disabled children, training social and welfare workers to better understand how to assist families caring for disabled children and supporting respite centers by providing rehabilitative aids such as wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and more.

“Although there are already two respite centers in Da Nang, they serve just a fraction of the people living with disabilities in the area because many families are unaware of the services or find traveling to and from the centers too difficult a journey,” said Stern. “It is therefore essential to the program’s success that we educate the community about the resources that are available to them so that they can take advantage of these services.”

UNICEF will also work closely with the government to improve legal policies and standards that promote the inclusion of the rights and specific needs of children with disabilities. Where possible, the program will work to leverage existing structures, such as the Vietnam’s Women’s Union, in order to help prevent the exclusion of disabled people from the country’s national policies.

Vietnam is home to a disproportionately large number of people with disabilities (approximately 7% of the entire population), including many affected by exposure to dioxin. The majority of these are children, who are unable to care for themselves and therefore live with their families indefinitely. One-third of families with disabled children have never sought treatment for their disabilities while only one-fifth of disabled children use the proper rehabilitative aids such as wheel chairs, prosthetic limbs, or hearing aids. Only a small number of children access the social assistance to which they are entitled and the vast majority of disabled children in Vietnam do not finish primary school.


For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world’s leading international children’s organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that affect why kids are dying. UNICEF provides lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. While millions of children die every year of preventable causes like dehydration, upper respiratory infections and measles, UNICEF, with the support of partnering organizations and donors alike, has the global experience, resources and reach to give children the best hope of survival. For more information about UNICEF, please visit

About The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.


School dropout rate on the increase in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City’s Nguyen An Ninh High School had 30 students drop out in the first term of this school year  

About 114,000 students in Vietnam dropped out of school from September to December last year, and the disturbing trend shows no sign of abating, the Ministry of Education and Training has revealed.

In some provinces many students quit school simultaneously.

Over 6,000 students dropped out in the central highlands province of Gia Lai in the first term of the academic year 2007 –2008 and more than 2,000 students left school in Lam Dong, another central highlands province.

In the south, more than 1,400 students left the education system in Binh Phuoc Province while 3,300 quit in Dong Nai.

Ho Chi Minh City also experienced a sharp increase of dropouts, on top of the usual high numbers.

Various reasons

Most HCMC school principals say young people leave school for a variety of reasons.

Some have economically disadvantaged families or divorced or neglectful parents.

The learning capacity of others is poor, so they fall behind their classmates.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Ministry Nguyen Vinh Hien


63,729 dropouts or 1.1 percent of nationwide middle school students (Year 6-9).
50,306 dropouts or 1.7 percent of nationwide high school students (Year 10-12).
The southern province of Tra Vinh has the highest number of middle school dropouts with 5,450 students.
The southern province of An Giang has the highest number of high school dropouts with 8,600 students.

Others don’t like studying, cut class and fall behind.

“Most of them quit school because their families are needy. We have already opened extra-classes for poor students, so the number of students leaving schools due to their poor learning capacity is not large,” the principal of HCMC’s Nguyen An Ninh High School, Le Minh Duc said.

Thirty of his students dropped out in the first term of this academic year.

In disadvantaged areas like An Giang, most of the students who drop out have parents who are not fully aware of the importance of studying and want them to stay home to earn money to support their families.

A local educational official said this year students quit mainly because of bad results in the first term.

Nearly 50 percent of Binh Phuoc’s dropouts and over 50 percent in Gia Lai left because of poor first term results.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien, said the ministry’s overarching campaign had caused a great number of the dropouts.

He said the assessment of their results had become stricter and more objective.

Part of the campaign against “achievement focus” was aimed at better learning rather than just achieving good examination results.

Another part, “Say no to students in wrong grades,” involved a raft of measures including extra tutoring to bypass the need for students to repeat years.

“This has discouraged students with bad results who would normally repeat a grade,” Hien added.

Several solutions

Hien said they had directed local educational departments to cooperate with local administrations to check each student’s circumstances, including his or her family’s finances and learning capacity.

He also suggested supportive policies like tuition remission for students from needy families and ways to convince parents to encourage their children to return to school.

Local schools needed to upgrade their facilities and supply more government funded tutoring to needy students during summer holidays and weekends, he said.

According to Hien, the ministry would also custom fit primary, secondary and high school durations to suit different provinces and areas.

In ethnic minorities for instance, the primary level could be lengthened to six years instead of five, because first grade students still don’t know how to speak fluent Vietnamese.

The ministry has also given primary and high school authorities the right to design their own curriculum suitable for their students.

Also the “Open academic year” policy, allows different areas to set holidays in accordance with local weather conditions, but no localities lengthened their academic year to after June 30, he added.

This is part of the ministry’s efforts to ease study programs for disadvantaged areas.

Hien said, however, “schools are not allowed to accept students’ bad results.”

While the new campaign was supposed to be the main reason for this year’s soaring number of dropouts, the educational authorities in many areas were confused about implementing the “Say No to Students in Wrong Grades” policy, the local Saigon Giai Phong newspaper reported.

“They are trying to convince students to resume studying, but this is a critical problem which needs to be directed by the ministry in a more positive and effective way,” the paper reported.

According to educational experts, the campaign fails to address current problems like the shortage of teachers.

The campaign asked teachers to be more active and invest more in teaching, but they were already in charge of too much work, the head of the central province of Ha Tinh Department of Education and Training, Le Duc Tuy, said.

The head of the southern Tay Ninh Province’s the Department of  Education and Training, Vu Hien Phuong, said the campaign had no solutions for students who received tutoring but still failed.

Oxfam and Kyoto University releases climate change in Vietnam report

The Mekong has been an important cradle and crossroads of culture for centuries. The river basin plays a crucial role in supporting economic and agricultural activities in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and the Yunnan province of China. Please find the research report on “Drought management considerations for Climate Change Adaptation” recently conducted in Vietnam by Oxfam and Kyoto University, Japan. The research event was supported by the Water Resource Department of MARD and Ninh Thuan Province partners.