Schools’ focus on quantity culprit of mediocre postgraduate training | Education

Along with that, the Ministry of Education and Training’s current training rules has not required that graduate students must have international publications which is the standard for international integration of higher education.

When it comes to the regulations on training PhDs, Professor Ngo Viet Trung, former Director of the Institute of Mathematics said that the old regulations on training PhDs which were issued in 2017 stipulated that the Ph.D. thesis must publish two articles. One journal article must be published in the ISI / Scopus category (and one article can be published in the country, or two articles must be published abroad. The rule is totally logical.

Vietnam’s above-mentioned requirement is less than other Southeast Asian countries. For instance, the University of Malaya in Malaysia requires two ISI papers for natural sciences, and one ISI for social sciences, meanwhile the Chulalongkorn University in Thailand) Lan requires the thesis to have one ISI article.

The new regulation on training PhDs as per Circular 18/2021/TT canceled all requirements for international publication of the old regulation.

Worse, the thesis only needs to have three publications in domestic medium-sized journals to be protected. The instructor also does not need to have international publications, only two domestic publications of average grade in the last five years, which is lower than the standard of three publications of Ph.D. students.

According to many experts, when considering Ph.D. training at any university in a developing country like Vietnam, one question which is usually raised is how many international publications does the thesis need to be protected, because International publication is the most objective assessment of the quality of the thesis when the scientific level of that country is not high and the research quality has not been self-appraisal. Therefore, developing countries’ regulations often stipulated that Ph.D. Thesis must have an international publication in international journals with quality assurance.

In the world, there are two catalogs ISI and Scopus including scientific journals selected according to the quality of publications. The State Council of Professors also uses these two lists to select titles. For example, an associate professor or professor should have at least three or five articles in these two categories. The National Fund for Science and Technology Development (Nafosted) also stipulated that research projects must publish at least two ISI articles in two years.

According to Professor Ngo Viet Trung, in addition to technology and engineering, many fields of social science are difficult to publish internationally. However, in reality in China, Peking University ranks 17th in social sciences and 28th in the humanities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 (mainly based on internationally published achievements) .

Therefore, because it is difficult to publish internationally, these requirements can’t be omitted. International publication requirements in the humanities and social sciences should be kept but to a lesser extent. For some specific majors that cannot be published internationally, the Ministry of Education and Training may accept the thesis without international publication.

In developed countries, Ph.D. Candidates who apply for a job are asked to submit a list of international publications or certificates of invention, Professor Ngo Viet Trung emphasized.

According to Head of Information Quantitative Research Group of Ton Duc Thang University Le Van Ut, funny Ph.D. theses have gone viral on social networks recently causing public concern. Before judging the thesis maker, it is necessary to review the responsibilities of training institutions, the responsibilities, and capabilities of instructors, and the thesis evaluation council.

To improve Ph.D. thesis, the only way is to improve the quality of instructors. No matter how strict the process is, instructors’ competence is not good, student’s Ph.D. theses under their instruction could not be better.

Accordingly, to soon prevent poor-quality PhDs, Dr. Le Van Ut recommended what needs to be done immediately is that the management agency needs to issue regulations on output standards and standards for Ph.D. theses, not only requirements for theses. The project must have works published in ISI/Scopus journals, which must be ISI/Scopus journals of high reputation in the field.

By Thanh Hung – Translated by Anh Quan


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