An event-related to Vietnam’s education that has been discussed by both mainstream media and social media netizens over the past week involves Dong Do University in Hanoi – one of the earliest established non-public universities in Vietnam.
According to the investigation conclusion of the Public Security Agency, Dong Do University has granted bachelor’s degrees to 193 people who have not passed the enrollment and training. In which, there are 55 cases using this diploma for admission to graduate students or to defend their doctoral thesis.
The Ministry of Education and Training said the ministry’s point is to resolutely handle by revoking and canceling these qualifications. The public or non-public identity of individuals using diplomas that the ministry calls ‘illegal’ diplomas will be reviewed by competent agencies in accordance with the law.
The story of fake diplomas of all kinds printed as real and sold underground, but widely publicized in society, is not a strange or new story. But the story of a university issuing hundreds of fake diplomas is an unheard of, as shared by Associate Professor-Dr. Hoang Dung with RFA on the evening of December 1:
“Actually, such counterfeiting has been only a few individuals for a long time. At Dong Do University, the situation was too bad. That is the policy of the top leaders of the university. This is an unprecedented past.
A big or small error is only an error if then the cause and condition that causes the error can be fixed. If one only resolves the consequence of the error and does not resolve the cause of the error, it is not a normal error. How to make a case like Dong Do University not happen again is something that people are much more concerned with, in terms of management than dealing with this case individually.”
For a long time, many people working in the field of education have voiced warnings about scholars using fake degrees, because many employers are too inclined to degrees, they require this degree, that certificate to be recruited. In addition to this is the reputation of a part of society. They do not study but want to have advanced degrees to flaunt others in order to progress more easily and smoothly.
Professor Dang Hung Vo said he was not surprised when the incident of mass fake degrees at Dong Do University unveiled. He explained:
“I’m not really surprised at Dong Do University. With the way of learning and the approach to degrees in Vietnam, including the defense of the master’s or doctoral thesis, it still has something wrong. It cannot enter academia, it cannot enter the scientific path but is still the criterion to enter this position, another position, from small companies to the State administrative apparatus. With such an approach it does not foster learning. Now, how do we stop people with Ph.D. in the paper but real PhDs to have land to be used and respected?”
How to avoid the same thing
According to the investigation agency, the cases of using forged diplomas of Dong Do University are all reputable people and key officials in agencies, departments, and branches; Most of them are working as masters and doctoral students. Some are key officers of a number of agencies in Hanoi, others are lecturers of a judicial university training institution.
After the incident was officially announced by the media, both the people and some leaders asked to publicize the identities of 55 people who bought fake diplomas from Dong Do University.
Talking to the local press at noon November 30, Mr. Le Nhu Tien – former vice chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children said that that deception serves as an example for generations to come and is a wake-up call for those who later dare not do so. Dr. Le Viet Khuyen – former deputy director of Higher Education Department said that it is necessary to publicize the identities of 55 people who buy this degree, because this is a challenge for the purity of education. Failure to do so will set a very bad precedent.
On social networks, on November 29, journalist Nguyen Nhu Phong said he had a list of these 55. He extended that within a month, if they do not apply to immediately withdraw from their existing positions, he would publicize their identities. He said he will be responsible for the integrity of this list.
Associate Professor-Dr. Hoang Dung said that if the competent authority does not disclose the identity of those “reputable officers,” the public will get angry and the state will let an individual like Mr. Nguyen Nhu Phong release the list out, the state lost at home. Dr. Hoang Dung stated his opinion:
“One of the things that make people believe that the state is determined to thoroughly handle this case is whether the people who are supposed to use the money to buy with a license can disclose their identity or not.
I see no reason for not making these people’s names public. But if they don’t come out, people are forced to ask who is behind these 55 people.
And these 55 people must not be ‘ordinary people,’ because ‘black people’ would be punished long ago. These people must have been senior officials, so they would be affected if their identities were publicized. If so, then this is an institution that is on the side of officials, rights, not on the side of justice.”
Professor Dang Hung Vo also agrees when he thinks that the identity must be publicized and there is no reason to hide it. Had been cheating in academia, they should be admit their wrongdoings. He continued:
“I think the first thing to do is to punish all those who are involved in this scholarly deception because in academia there cannot be lies. This is an academic scam. Must be urgently sanctioned by the Criminal Code without abstaining from anyone so that no one will do it in the future.
This is something that must be done immediately, even if a few dozen high-ranking government officials must be sacrificed, they must be done. There is no other way.
Next is the change of mechanism from management to governance. Flexible governance allows people to participate in monitoring all activities, including state agencies, public service agencies, and public service activities.”
The 2013 Constitution affirms that state power is not only unified, delegated, and coordinated, but also controlled. State power belongs to the People, State of the people, so power must be controlled. The people exercise state power through direct democracy, by democratic representation through the National Assembly, the People’s Council and through other state agencies.
With the principle that power belongs to the people, unification and control in the exercise of legislative, executive and judicial powers, the next principle is affirmed as cadres, civil servants, public employees, and state agencies are obliged to serve the People, to maintain close relations and to submit to the People’s supervision.
This is stated in the Constitution, but the reality is different because people have nowhere to publish monitoring opinions.