The Standard of Quality for HEIs in Vietnam: a step in the right direction?
Tran Duc, N and Nguyen, TT and Nguyen, MTN, The Standard of Quality for HEIs in Vietnam: a step in the right direction?, Quality Assurance in Education, 19, (2) pp. 130-140. ISSN 0968-4883 (2011) [Refereed Article]
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the Standard of Quality for higher education institutions in Vietnam which was developed in response to an urgent call for a fundamental reform to enhance the quality of educational provision, particularly of teaching and learning.
Design/methodology/approach – The standard and some related legislative documents such as the Education Act 2005 and the national curriculum frameworks are critically reviewed against a student-centred approach in education, the theory of constructive alignment, and definitions of quality. In addition, the experiences of the second author, who was involved in the first phase of the Accreditation Program, proved to be invaluable in shedding light onto the evaluative criteria proposed in the standard.
Findings – While the establishment and development of the standard have been welcomed as the right step in addressing quality-related concerns across the sector, its evaluative criteria do not appear to point in the right direction. Throughout the standard, criteria on outcomes of student learning are not given due priority. Owing to the lack of emphasis on the presence of students and their learning – core components in any educational activities – it seems less likely that implementation of this standard will lead to radical changes towards a student-centred approach in teaching and learning.
Originality/value – Analysis presented in the paper lends itself to examination of the decision making process concerned with quality assurance and its implementation. Lessons learned from Vietnam in this quality assurance exercise may be useful for countries seeking to adopt a similar approach.