VIETNAM: Student assessment of lecturers a waste

From Professor TK Raja

It is an exaggeration to say there is large scale academic fraud in Vietnamese universities (Students will assess their assessors). There may be some isolated incidents of minor frauds which should be ignored but these problems are rampant in all developed countries as well.

I had an opportunity to work as a visiting professor in the school of biotechnology at the International University, a constituent university under the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City in 2006-07. I have observed closely the higher education system there.

I agree that Vietnam's higher education should be regulated by the government for the benefit of the country's socialist development. There are hundreds of private universities in Vietnam and some are of foreign origin. These should be closely monitored and regulated regarding fee structure and the quality of the programmes they offer.

The government should not be in a hurry to implement the system of "students assessing lecturers" since they are not sufficiently mature. And the majority of their lecturers are under-qualified and their salaries are abysmally low. For a system to succeed, lecturers should be well-qualified and the system should retain them paying attractive salary. Assessment of quality will not survive in a deficient system. And it will be a wasteful exercise too.

* Professor TK Raja lectures in biotechnology at the PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India.