Students confused by new university entrance system
  • By Le Phuong | | August 22, 2015 01:29 PM
 >>  Veteran educator criticizes new national high school exam

>>  Students register for national high school exam
 >>  High school exam results used for universities entrance
 >>  900,000 students sit final high school exam
Parents and students in Vietnam are complaining about the new method of enrolling students to university this year, saying it is too costly and stressful.

Thousands of parents and students gathered at universities nationwide to withdraw or resubmit their applications on August 20, the deadline for their first choice of university.

Students and their parents came to withdraw and submit applications at the Hanoi University of Economics on August 20.

Thai Anh Tuan from Long An Province said that his daughter, Thai Thi Lanh submitted her application to HCM City Teacher Training University on August 15 when seeing her results were much higher than other applicants.

"But her ranking kept falling when more and more applicants came in," Tuan said. "I had to stop my work to go with her to HCM City when the deadline neared to withdraw her application and apply to other universities for different subjects as a precaution."

They had to withdraw her application at 4pm on the last day after seeing that she has no chance to be admitted to the university. 

"They announced they would enrol 80 students this year and at 4pm the screen showed there were 78 applicants who had higher records than my daughter, so we decided to give up," Tuan said.

Tuan said that not only his daughter but the whole family were exhausted during the past week when seeing the changing list and having to calculate on whether to withdraw or wait. "Having a child going to university is very important to us," Tuan explains. "So I and my wife could not concentrate on work. We've had to spend a lot of money travelling to HCM City and hiring a room near the university to watch the situation."

Many other parents and students are sharing the same situation as Tuan's after the Ministry of Education and Training applied a new plan in which students took only one national exam instead of separate high school graduation and university entrance exams this year.

Under the new plan, the results will be a consideration in both high school graduation and university admissions.

Students were tested in four subjects, three of them compulsory - mathematics, literature and a foreign language. The fourth was an optional subject, chosen by students from physics, chemistry, biology, history and geography.

 Basing on these exam results they would send applications to the university or college of their choice.

Students are allowed to apply for three subjects at three universities in the first application and 12 subjects in three universities for their second.

Universities were responsible for updating the list of applicants every three days and students could withdraw or resubmit applications for another within 20 days if they find they fail in their first applications.

The new system has obviously faced some issues with students not being familiar with how it works.

 Students waiting to withdraw their applications at the Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City on August 20.

A veteran educator, associate professor Van Nhu Cuong, chairman of the Luong The Vinh School board of directors, said the new national high school examination this year was a failure, forcing students to gamble on their futures.

"Students are not provided with a clear direction on pursuing their favourite course but forced to "gamble" on their academic strength," Cuong said. "They are in a race in which they don’t know where to go. Instead of applying for their favourite subject, they are trying to be admitted to any university."

Cuong said, "If such exams are continued to be organised in the coming years, it would mean a ruinous failure for Vietnam’s education."

Minister of Education and Training, Pham Vu Luan in an interview with the VTV yesterday (August 21), said that he was sorry for the extra expenses, time and stress that many students and their families have had to undergo during the first university admission round.

"It was our responsibility for not being able to predict the situation," Luan said. "We have asked universities to announce the enrollment list right after students send applications in the second round, so this situation would not happen again."

Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan

According to the ministry, the nearly 43,000 students came to withdraw and resubmit applications during the first round, mostly at top-ranking universities, accounting for 8.1 per cent of the total 569,843 applicants to universities nation-wide.

After passing national exams, each student was given four certificates to be included in their applications. In the first admission round, the student uses only one certificate to apply at four courses at a university. But the application forms must submitted as hard copies. This application can be withdrawn at any point with 20 days of submission and then used to reapply for a university place elsewhere. Having to physically collect and submit the applications is one of the main reasons for the complaints surrounding the application process this year. The remaining certificates can be used in subsequent rounds of applications, and they do have to be submitted by hand, begging the question why the education ministry never considered electronic applications which would have saved huge amounts of time and energy.

Leave your comment on this story