Vu Van Hoa, Deputy Rector of Hanoi University of Business and Technology, explains a set of recently proposed criteria for ranking universities to Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

*What is your comment on the Ministry of Education and Training's proposed criteria for the ranking and stratification of Vietnamese universities?

This is the first draft of the criteria from some experts in the ministry and is not yet the final document. In my opinion, stratification of our universities is necessary. But the quality of the first draft is not good enough. It is not objective, and the criteria must be scientifically based. We should not just impose a subjective idea that a university's ranking is first or second class.

*So in your opinion, what should we do to make the assessment more objective?

At present, universities in Vietnam are springing up like mushrooms after the rain. That's why the stratification criteria must be discussed much further. At present, some universities are listed in the first or second group. I myself don't know on what criteria the ranking was based.

Many people also say that the quality of public universities is better than those of private ones. I think that to prove this, the first thing we should do is to evaluate the scientific capability of lecturers and the curricula at a particular university, as well as its role in the development of the homeland. It is almost impossible to compare a university of economics with a university of technology.

The second thing we should do is to evaluate the infrastructure and technology available in each university. This is an important factor in ranking universities.

The third thing is to look at a university's development scope in recent years to see whether graduates are accepted by society. I know one university that could not finish any project. In short, it is very important to introduce a set of criteria accepted by society, not by people sitting in an air-conditioned room. Of course, the criteria must be confirmed by rectors of different universities.

*Some people say that the assessment criteria are too subjective. What's your position on this?

In my opinion, before we develop criteria to evaluate something, we should look at what's been done in other countries and learn from their experiences. It doesn't mean that we have to follow the educational systems of Great Britain, the United States or France.

I think, we can learn something from some Asian countries such as the Republic of Korea or Thailand. At present, the labour productivity of one Singapore worker is almost equal to that of 15 Vietnamese. And the productivity of one Thai worker is equal to that of five Vietnamese.

We should look at the educational system in other countries, particularly their tertiary education, and see what criteria they use to stratify and rank universities.-VNA