Vietnam’s first university ranking throws up some surprises

By Thuy Linh   September 7, 2017 | 02:40 pm GMT+7
Vietnam’s first university ranking throws up some surprises
University students at a graduation ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016. Photo by VnExpress
Some of the country’s so-called top schools found themselves way down the list.

Vietnam's first university ranking has been compiled by a group of independent experts who based their findings mainly on the scientific research the schools produce.

Vietnam National University Hanoi topped the list of 49 schools based on three criteria: scientific research, education quality, and infrastructure and management, with the first two accounting for 80 percent of the scores. The school is currently ranked 1,507th by Webometrics, a website that ranks universities around the world.

Ton Duc Thang in Ho Chi Minh City finished second and surprised many experts as it has only been open for 20 years.

The rest of the top five was made up of Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Da Nang University and Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City.

The country’s leading medical schools in HCMC and Hanoi claimed 18th and 20th positions.

The Foreign Trade University, a highly selective school and widely considered one of the best in Vietnam, only managed to make 23rd place, the best performance of the five business schools on the list.

Dr. Luu Quang Hung, a researcher working in Melbourne who led the survey, said that the amount of research schools have published in international journals is an important way of gauging their quality. The benchmark is used by prestigious global lists such as the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings, Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which was the first global university ranking.

But he also said the ranking only partly reflects the quality of the schools and should be used for reference only.

Vietnam has hundreds of universities and the research group had initially planned to look into more than 100 of them. However, they were only able to acquire the necessary information from around half.

Hung said his group wants to set a trend of ranking universities in Vietnam to make schools improve.

The group included Professor Giap Van Duong, an education expert who has conducted postdoctoral research in physics and chemistry in Europe, and other researchers from the University of Manchester, Ho Chi Minh City University of Education and the Development and Policies Research Center in Hanoi.

Consultancy was also provided by Vietnamese professors at the University of New South Wales and Pantheon-Sorbonne University.

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