Alarmingly, in recent years, the number of candidates applying for graduate entrance exams at many major universities in Ho Chi Minh City has decreased.
From 2012 to 2018, the number of candidates registering for the post-graduate exam of the National University of Ho Chi Minh City decreased sharply from more than 10,000 candidates in 2012 to only 2,912 candidates registered for the exam in 2017 while the school’s quota is 3,683.
The comparison between registered candidates with the target in each school shows even more clearly this alarming situation. For instance, the University of Science and Technology received 57 applications for Ph.D. training in 2012; worse, the number was 14 in 2017 while 3,464 candidates and 592 candidates registered for MSc training courses in 2012 and in 2017 respectively.
The training targets for MSc and Ph.D. students of member schools and institutes of the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City have decreased markedly, especially the training of MSc. In 2012, the total MSc quota was 3,550, by 2017 it was only 3,320, or a decrease of 9.35 percent.
If you compare the target with the actual admission, it is even more worrisome. At the Ph.D. level, from 2013 onward, the quota has never been met. Specifically, in 2014 there were 227 successful candidates while the quota was 270; similarly, it was 239 candidates and 263 in 2015 and 2016. The number of candidates for MSc training has dropped even more; in 2014 there were 2,997 and in 2016 it was 2,375.
The Ho Chi Minh City-based University of Economics is also in a similar situation. In 2013, this school had seen the registration of 8,000 candidates for the MSc exam, but there were only 1,400 candidates in 2018. Along with that, the qualifying score also dropped sharply. In 2013, the faculty with the highest standard score was Economics with 16 points for two subjects, in 2017 and 2018 the standard score was 10 points for two subjects.
The University of Technology and Education in HCMC also saw a sharp decrease in the number of candidates registered for the MSc exam. In previous years, there were 3,000 candidates taking the exam whereas there have been approximately 400 candidates lately.
Dr. Le Ngoc Son, Director of the Institute of International and Postgraduate Training Faculty of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Industry, said that from 2018 until now, the school hasn’t had enough graduate students. He took an example as in 2018, the school received 170 MSc applicants and 4 Ph.D. students.
At a recent meeting with the Ministry of Education and Training, Professor-Dr. Huynh Van Son, Rector of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, said that the school has 26 MSc majors, but in 2021 it will recruit 380 candidates and only reach 48.3 percent of the targets. In 2020, the school recruited 9 Ph.D., and only 10 candidates sat for the exam (8 of them were admitted); and in 2021, the number of students for postgraduate training courses didn’t meet the school’s quota.
Meanwhile, according to the regulations on enrollment and graduate training, schools only train at the main campus and study online for no more than 30 percent of the total number of credits. However, many training institutions have linked, recruited, and opened training classes in many localities. Some schools even owe their input making the enrollment situation in this training system unhealthy.
The Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education has organized the granting of certificates of post-graduate subject knowledge training in the MSc training program. Students can join MSc classes at the school, or the school opens classes locally when 20 people registered for a class.
According to the school's report, from 2015 to 2017, 781 certificates were granted to students. Inspectors from the Ministry of Education and Training confirmed that the granting of certificates of knowledge training didn’t comply with the Ministry’s regulations.
Meanwhile, Hong Bang International University signed and assigned Van Thanh Cong Education Investment Company to organize enrollment and graduate classes in 2019 at 178 Le Van Sy Street in Ward 10 in Phu Nhuan District. From 2019 to October 2020, this company provided training to 167 master's students including 49 students majoring in Business Administration and 118 students in Business Law. In addition, this school also has organized postgraduate training courses in many other localities.
The recruitment and training of MSc at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law also have many mistakes. This school organizes additional knowledge for students to enter MSc after enrollment is not in accordance with the regulations. In addition, some documents with English certificates issued by the school are not guaranteed to be exempt from foreign language exams. Last but not least, the school also cooperated with 14 units to organize enrollment and MSc training for 40 classes outside the school's headquarters.
Furthermore, currently, many universities such as Tra Vinh University, Thai Nguyen University, and Luong The Vinh University also organized enrollment and training for MSc in Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Province of Dong Nai.
Along with unfair competition in graduate admissions, currently, there are many inadequacies in doing MSc theses and Ph.D. dissertations. With easy enrollment and training outside the main campus by private companies, the quality of training is certainly low.
Meanwhile, many people advertised publicly on the social network to make theses and dissertations. For example, regarding an MSc thesis, students must pay VND15- VND20 million for each while the prices of the Ph.D. thesis often double, triple, and are less public. For example, the website https://hotroluanvan.net/ announced to help postgraduates write a Master's thesis and a Ph.D. thesis.
Moreover, to create more trust for its customers, the website administrator also informed that ‘team members are Ph.D. students, lecturers with MSc and Ph.D. qualifications working at leading universities in Ho Chi Minh City.
Currently, more than 140 institutions and nearly 180 training institutions are allowed to provide for master courses and Ph.D. training courses in the country. In recent years, many training institutions have been allowed by the Ministry of Education and Training to enroll MSc and Ph.D. students.
Along with that, joint training programs with foreign countries have also increased significantly with nearly 300 undergraduate and postgraduate training majors, of which there are 67 graduate majors in the South. Some schools in Vietnam and the world have applied methods of graduate enrollment of application review and interviewand review through online registration.