Higher education audit plagued by inexperience
December 06th, 2010
More than 45 per cent of universities and colleges in the country have completed their educational quality self-assessment, but the project has experienced difficulties because of a lack of experience among those conducting the review.
A total of 185 out of more than 400 universities and colleges across the country have completed the self-assessment review. The Ministry of Education and Training plans that by 2015, 90 per cent of universities and colleges will have completed the work.
The self-assessment review started at the beginning of 2008, and is intended to improve university and college quality in terms of syllabus, facilities and student results.
However, most academic staff taking part in the survey claimed that the review was an unfamiliar process.
Head of the Educational Quality Examination and Verification Division under the Ha Noi Community College Pham Mai Hong said: "Most of the college's officials and teachers struggled because they didn't understand how to conduct a self-assessment."
Compiling accurate statistics also posed a problem.
Chu Thi Minh, deputy head of the Training Division of the Thai Nguyen College of Medicine, said that her college lacked post-graduate employment figures, and feedback on teaching materials.
Another official, Nguyen Van Minh, from the Ha Noi Foreign Trade University, said the university also met difficulties in compiling the necessary data.
"Despite having received training, university departments still thought that the collection of data was the work of the quality verification centres and had failed to compile the necessary figures," he said.
Pham Xuan Thanh, deputy director of the Department of Educational Quality Examination and Verification, said that the quality audit was a new experience for the country, and the department only required minimum assessment norms.
"Some universities and colleges ignored important benchmarks so they failed to properly conduct the assessment," he said.
At present the biggest obstacle to the work was funding, and the Ministry of Education and Training would work with the Ministry of Finance to issue regulations next year.
"The university self-assessment project met difficulties because assigned officials failed to understand their tasks despite attending training courses, which was compounded by a lack of experience in the work," Thanh said.
The Ministry of Education and Training had begun drafting plans for the improvement and development of the educational quality system for the 2011-20 period, in which educational quality verification organisations and strengthened international co-operation in the field would be prioritised, he said.
Under the ministry's regulations, universities and colleges would be audited in terms of their syllabus, facilities, management, teacher quality and measures to improve education standards.