Education qualifications pose burning question
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | May 05, 2016 01:55 PM
 >>  Scientific research papers prove too costly

A Facebook user has stirred debate about the rampant use of fake education certification in Vietnam after burning his two exam certificates.

Dinh Thanh Hung triggered online debate after sharing that he had burnt two certificates he had received from Japan.

"Today I received the JLPT N1 certificate, (the required certificate for medical practitioners licensed overseas who want to take Japan's national exams) I got 177 points. That must have been really good in Vietnam. Decided to burn it," Hung wrote on his Facebook. "Then I remembered I was awarded a certificate after becoming the valedictorian of the examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. Burnt it too".


Hung burns two certificates

When being asked why he burnt the certificates, Hung said his message is to tell everyone to keep learning like they have known nothing. "I can't speak about how effective education reform in Vietnam is," he said. "There's always two sides to any coin so just choose a path that makes you feel comfortable."

Many people support Hung's actions and said that accumulating knowledge to realise one's dreams and ideas was the ultimate goal of learning. That's why certificates or degrees are given to recognise one's achievements; they don't have any more value.

Other opinions opposed and said such actions shouldn't be done in Vietnam where certificates and degrees were decisive factors in job hunting. Even in countries where the certificates are not worshipped, they may still be required. For example, nowhere in the world would let someone treat patients without some medical certification and you can't just burn the driving licence.

Others attacked Hung saying he was being egotistical.

Burning certificates is personal issue and it doesn't affect anyone else. However, Hung garnered huge attention for several reasons.

First it's rare to see in Vietnam where certificates are regarded as though they are protective charms , particularly as there is a doctrine of certification. People scrabble to earn certifications or have to resort to getting fakes done because it decides their jobs and promotions.

Secondly, real capabilities are often overlooked and what kind of certificates listed in the curriculum vitae are scrutinised. It's sad because for many people, the present and future are more important than the certificates which belong to the past.

And lastly, fake certificates are largely used to apply for positions in state-owned agencies. Former Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan once said that people with fake certificates or those that cheat to get a certificate could only apply to state agencies because they couldn't get into the private companies.

Hung burning his two certificates is rare but not strange.

It is reported that Vietnam has 12,000 doctoral degree holders who are doing research. But it seems that each scientific research paper costs as much as USD4m in state funding.

It's likely among those 12,000 are some holding fake degrees. It would definitely be both rare and strange if someday, someone decided to burn their degree because they thought they weren’t deserving of it.

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