University accreditation still very much up in the air

VietNamNet Bridge – Two education accreditation centers (EAC) have been set up in Vietnam. However, the establishment of EACs is not enough for Vietnam to have a professional accreditation service.

The two centers are the EAC belonging to the Hanoi National University (VNU EAC), and to the HCM City National University (VNU-HCM EAC).

The two centers are the EAC belonging to the Hanoi National University (VNU EAC), and to the HCM City National University (VNU-HCM EAC).

In principle, the centers have the right to release the decisions on whether to recognize or not recognize universities and training curriculums as meeting the education standards while they do not bear any intervention from third parties.

EAC have to follow the inspection and accreditation procedures set up by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and deal with 100 schools every year.

The decision by the MOET has surprised many education experts, who have doubts about the independence of the centers put under the management of MOET.

In reply, MOET said “independence” means the initiative to set up working programs and make decisions, while it does not refer to the independent existence.

A lot of education accreditation organizations in the world, such as the Australian, Thai and Malaysian ones, are also put under the state’s control. The EAC in Indonesia has been put under the management of the country’s education ministry.

However, MOET said the two centers would only operate as state’s organizations in the first phase of their operation. They would become completely independent after five years of operation.

Vietnam plans to set up three EACs by 2015, while non-state EAC would be allowed after 2015.

If noting that there are 500 universities and junior colleges in Vietnam and each of the school needs to be accredited once in every five years, the EACs would deal with 100 schools every year.

Meanwhile, each of the EAC belonging to the national schools would have 30 accreditors and 25 assistants.

This has raised a worry that the centers would be overloaded, which would badly affect the accreditation quality.

Bui Duc Hien, Deputy Head of the Power University’s Training Division, noted that accrediting 100 schools every year is an overly heavy task for the two newly set up EACs.

“They need to have enough experiences and time to undertake the job,” Hien said.

Therefore, educators believe that Vietnam should think of allowing setting up private run accreditation organizations.

Nguyen Van Hung, President of Luong The Vinh University, said all kinds of EACs should be accepted, no matter if they are state owned or private run. The most important thing is that they have to be independent and objective.

In the latest news, MOET’s Deputy Minister Bui Van Ga has stated that 60 universities, 15 junior colleges and 95 training curricula would be inspected and accredited in 2014.

MOET has noted that universities and junior colleges nowadays pay higher attention to the education accreditation which can show their training quality and prestige.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, 30 more universities and 49 junior colleges completed the self-assessment reports, raising the numbers to 168 universities and 180 junior colleges.

Also in the academic year, 11 training curricula were accredited by the Asian University Network and ASEAN-QA project.

Kim Chi

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