Scholarships - Training

Scholarships - Training

The debate following the report of the Harvard GD VN

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After a review of some of Harvard scholar on Vietnam higher education, many argued. On 16/10, the official website of the Ministry of Education & Training ( and the official forum of the Ministry of Education and Training (, publish by Professor Neal Koblitz.

The assessment of the Harvard scholar:

Harvard discussing education crisis VN

How to Respond to Crisis U.S. higher education?

To ensure multi-dimensional information and extensive exchanges, Vietnam News introduces original article. Posts reflect the personal views of the author. All comments from readers debate should be sent to
About the author: in 1985, Professor Neal Koblitz (University of Washington) and Dr. Victor Miller (IBM Company) has been proposed (mutually independent) method public encryption codes based on elliptical curves. Today Elliptic Curve Cryptography technology (ECC) have progressed very far in both academic research and the system of trade secret. Neal Koblitz is a lot of work on Number Theory and Modern Cryptography. He is a longtime friend of the U.S. scientific community and our country was founded with his wife Kovalevskaia award for women mathematicians.
1. Introduction
Professor Neal Koblitz

For important international issues, the views of Americans are deeply divided. In the sixties, millions of Americans who strongly supported the war in Vietnam. Among them include not only those who are not educated but unfortunately also has a number of Harvard professors and the university, they went to Washington to hold important positions in the cabinet of Kennedy and Johnson. Also during this period, many other Americans opposed the war in Vietnam and held large demonstrations. Americans in general not a voice.

The purpose of this report is to discuss a document titled "Higher Education in Vietnam: Crisis and response." [1] This article is the title of the Ash Institute of Harvard Kennedy School, and the name of Thomas Vallely and his associates is Ben Wilkinson. I will cite this document briefly as "Vallely reports."

Vallely report is written with a perspective similar to previous reports on higher education in Vietnam under the auspices of the National Academy of the United States. [2] In 2008 I made a comment on the financial that data. [3] In this article, I will not reiterate the points I raised in it.

The difficulties of Vietnam's higher education is very complex and is similar to the problems commonly found in other countries, especially in the Third World. This article is not intended to be comprehensive analysis of the problem. My purpose is to examine this question in historical context, and warns of mathematicians, scientists and officials of Vietnam must be very wary of the analysis and recommendations of the representatives of U.S. organizations such as the Ash Institute.
2. History

2.1. Early after his visit to Vietnam was my first time in 1978, I wrote a report [4] in which I have commented on the respect for knowledge as part of the culture of Vietnam from time immemorial.

May explain in part the noble status of the scholar in the tradition of the Vietnamese. University of Quoc Tu Giam old, was founded in 1076, has always been an attractive destination of tourists to Hanoi ... Stone tablet carved up in 1463 with the name of Luong The Vinh, who besides his literary career was considered one of the first lesson of Vietnam.

These traditions may also partly explain why the number of students from developing countries studying in Moscow, the students in Vietnam is probably the hardest working and most successful. It is possible that the young mathematicians in Vietnam from Moscow, on returning home after completing the postgraduate course also undergoing joyful emotions, like joy after his father passed in royal examinations.

But in the colonial period, the French defeat in the development of higher education. Report Vallely had an accurate analysis of this problem: The problem that Vietnam faces in the higher education system today is partly a result of a tragic modern history of the land this country.

French colonial rule in Vietnam in the second half of the 19th century until 1945 have invested very little, even when compared with other colonial powers, the higher education system. Consequently, Vietnam has missed an opportunity when a new wave of higher education institutions swept across most of continental Asia in the early decades of the 20th century. This is the time many leading institutions established in this area.

Consequently, after the recovery of independence, Vietnam has only one higher education institutions are very weak foundation to build (This is a stark contrast compared to China, where, until the day now, most of the leading universities have been established long before the revolution).

Although reports have Vallely heavy criticism of the French, but the relationship between France and Vietnam also have positive aspects. Some of the leading intellectuals in Vietnam (as mathematicians Le Van Thiem and Nguyen Dinh Ngoc) has training in France and upon returning had contributed greatly to Vietnam. Later, especially during the American war, some mathematicians and scientists of France's most famous (as A. Grothendieck, L. Schwartz, and P. Cartier) has visited and lectured in Vietnam and tried to help their colleagues. Founder of the U.S. Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Vietnam - Ed Cooperman (he was murdered right in California 25 years ago this month), worked a year in France in 1970 had the impression to the operations of French scientists in support of Vietnam, and thus compelled him to build a similar group in the United States.

At the toughest point of the war with France, the advanced class is held at The Four area by Nguyen Thuc Hao charge, in the area west of Hanoi by Nguyen Xien undertaken and near border with China's Le Van Thiem charge. In the same period, a textbook on geometry compiled by the Royal pancreas have been published in Vietnamese Minh publishers. I believe this is the only book in the world accounting by a resistance movement issued. The historic event was the many mathematicians known through my interview with Royal pancreas. [5]

2.2. The period 1954-1985

Vallely report describes the period after the departure of the French before the renovation period in a negative way as "an era of socialist regimes arbitrary." But at this stage, the Prime Minister Pham Van Dong Grothendieck directly approached to discuss the mathematical development of Vietnam in the future, and a few years later he had a strong direct intervention to build a building strictly for the Hanoi Institute of Mathematics. This really is a job "dictatorship" of him, because what I know, not have a prime minister of a capitalist country has ever determined to build a new building for mathematicians!

Can readers Vietnam surprising because in the report Vallely, speaking of "modern history tragic" in Vietnam, the French have only scapegoat abuse policy with Vietnam . The authors seem to have forgotten the whole period from 1954 to 1975, when the United States initially supported the corrupt tyranny in the South, and then from 1964 to 1975, has occupied southern and conducted a brutal war against Vietnam. Not something the French have done can compare to the devastation of this period - when the total number of bombs poured into the North and South Vietnam more than any other war in history use the world, including World War II. Chief of Staff Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay described the U.S. strategy in Vietnam as follows: "We're going to bomb and take them back to the Stone Age."

However, only a little understanding that we will see clearly why the section on "historical" in the full report Vallely did not mention at all to the role of the United States. I know Ash Institute's website during this time that he himself was in Vietnam Vallely as as a member of the United States Marine Corps. This is one of the organizations had caused the war crimes against the people of Vietnam.

Moreover, his office has linked Vallely Harvard University, and this may explain the lack of documentation regarding the role of the United States in "period of modern history is full tragedy "of Vietnam. Although Harvard has many mathematicians and scientists prominent in the list of his professors, but not all of Harvard's past are commendable. The university plays a major role in U.S. war. Some professor of politics, like McGeorge Bundy and Samuel Huntington, are the policy makers is important. Huntington has joined Bundy and build enthusiasm and encouragement to the "strategic hamlet" popular in southern Vietnam. The program forced most farmers displaced by the military and perform puppet regime has been condemned as violations of international law. [7] Quality Napalm - Dow Chemical Company and was produced U.S. military to use against civilians in Vietnam - first tested on the Harvard Stadium. So one can easily understand why people who are related to Harvard prefers to remain silent about America's wars and pour all the problems of Vietnam for the French.

The devastation of Americans not just the physical aspect but also culturally, especially in the south, which had endured the occupation of the U.S. Army for 11 years. Money to feed their vices such as prostitution, drug abuse, and corruption with a terrible scale. Like the American weapons brought the brutality and death, American money was eaten slowly corrode the social structure and culture of Vietnam in the south of latitude 17.

There are effects on other cultures, but not clearly by. One example is that many years ago, Mr. Huang pancreas told me a remark that in a war for survival, traditional arts and handicrafts also gradually faded. And without the extraordinary efforts of intellectuals and leaders of Vietnam - who during the bombing of Hanoi was still held teaching and research in forest away from the capital - the life sciences will be cleared up during the American war.
3. Training in the socialist countries

Most mathematicians and scientists leading the generation of Vietnam's Hoang pancreas and my generation were educated in socialist countries. According to my impression they are generally very well trained. I know that the students in Vietnam in Moscow are notoriously hard and working smart, and they often work under the guidance of leading scientists of the Soviet Union.

Vallely reports suggest that scientists and officials from Vietnam, who was educated in the socialist countries, have less capacity than those who were trained in the West, and for that they had prevented progress. In making these allegations, the author seems to want to create a conflict between different groups in Vietnam. Although there are different opinions about the ability of the Vietnamese people have been trained in the socialist or not socialist - but my point in both of these groups have the capacity High - is the creation of a disagreement between a group of Vietnam with another group did not bring any benefit.

Looking at the comments disparaging nature of the report of the Vietnam Vallely is higher education in socialist countries, a question naturally arises: The authors of this report the qualities and qualifications which allow them to make negative judgments like that?

According to the website of the Ash Institute before becoming program director of Vietnam, Mr. Vallely has been a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (similar to an official in a small province of Vietnam). In addition, he holds a MPA, which means "Master of Public Administration." This is a regular diploma in the U.S. for those who want to work at the regional or local administrative level in the state. It does not make sense as a Masters degree in science, and of course, far less a Doctorate (Ph.D.) or by Candidate of the Soviet Union.

Vallely's assistant, Ben Wilkinson, there are few more degrees. According to the website of the Ash Institute's degree he was attended courses on the history and language in Vietnam he was a student, and he had "studied law at Harvard Law School" (this spelling means he has not completed a degree course and what the law).

If someone has a Masters degree in Public Administration, or used in university courses on the history and language of Vietnam, would have qualified him for protection only for the government of Vietnam should what to do or not? Whether he is qualified to make negative judgments about scientists and officials have been studying in the socialist country or not?

Is a person with his qualifications as Mr. Wilkinson Vallely or may be invited to the U.S. government consultant on higher education reform or not? Of course not. People will see they are completely unqualified, and no one wants to hear their opinions on this issue. Yet Harvard University's Ash Institute and the Fulbright program of the U.S. State Department sent them back to Vietnam as the "experts" on higher education. This is an example of the so-called new-style colonialism.

The tone of the report Vallely Upper formal nature, that seem important and taught. The authors were overly confident in the wrong way on high knowledge and expressed both his ridicule, contempt of training institutions and scientific research as well as leaders of Vietnam. Although Mc George Bundy and Samuel Huntington has died, the colonial-style arrogance that they have new shows still exist and exist in institutions related to the Ash Institute at Harvard as this.

4. Political propaganda

Large number of students after graduation from around the world, including Vietnam, the United States to participate in the Ph.D. program in the sciences at large research universities. Do not confuse this program with a different type of training is often the Ash Institute for organizations such as the implementation. The programs of these organizations is often conducted over a period of several months to two years, not focused on a scientific topic, but "political science" or "public policy . " (From "science" in phrases like "political science" or "social science" of course means they are not science.) The student or trainee [9] (as sometimes they are called) learn about the political ideologies and economic theories prominent in the U.S., and they are taught that the American approach in solving problems is the best and they should be introduced in other states.

Vallely reports that in Vietnam, "25% of undergraduate teaching program is devoted to the subject heavily political propaganda." However, when looking at the policy program at Harvard's Ash Institute Vallely, people are feeling that the dissemination of up to 100% political. (Maybe 100% is a bit too, but make sure that the proportion of subjects of political propaganda and ideology far more than 25%.) The difference between the two forms of political propaganda at universities in Vietnam Ash South and now is that a hospital where advocacy of socialism and there is also anti-socialist. Even Vallely identified in the report that university students in Vietnam have wasted 25% of their time is right, it is still better than almost 100% waste of time.
5. Innovation

In 1985 the Government of Vietnam has launched a series of policies to reform the economy and that led to the economy has grown rapidly over the years, the quality of life of people is improved, and the private sector development is very strong. In the book Random Curves [10], I tried giving a balanced perspective on the impact of innovation.

... These changes are good and bad effects. Most of Vietnam is a better material life ... On the other hand, the economic imbalances become more pronounced before, and the class of "wealth-producing" appeared. Moreover, in many areas in Vietnam, the private sector and taxable even fewer restrictions than in the U.S. and other capitalist countries.

During a discussion of this issue with Ms. Nguyen Thi Binh - when it was Vice President-I have observed that in this regard, Vietnam is less socialist than the United States. In his book, I gave an example to illustrate the bad behavior of private companies in Vietnam, it was never accepted in most advanced capitalist countries:

For example, in 2003 we noticed a newspaper advertisement to recruit staff of the Hotel Caravelle, published in the English-language newspaper Vietnam News. This ad is hiring men for the technical work and hiring women to work for prevention. The ads have to distinguish male and female characteristics such as illegal in the U.S. and most European countries.

Moreover, there have been many cases the owners are American, Korean or Japanese sexually harassed female workers in Vietnam, the women are completely powerless and we did not do anything to sanctioning those who molested them.

As in other countries, open-door policy has a downside. Those who have studied the complex relationships between rich countries and the Third World countries often talk about "dumping" [11]. This means that multinational companies often sell low quality products or to blame for Third World countries - for example, the so-term drug use or tested and therefore not can be sold in the U.S.. Dumping Victims also extend to the field of culture. For example, the American movies are often screened in Vietnam (and hinder the film industry of Vietnam) is often poor-quality films of Hollywood - American films of good quality rarely enter about.

Similarly, almost all of America to set up branches in Vietnam are low-quality schools. For example, an article [12] which I read in a newspaper of America said to the Houston Community College [13] has a thriving branch in Ho Chi Minh City. No one in America as Houston Community College is a school with serious academic status. So this can also be seen as a form of dumping. And also said that sending people can not afford to Vietnam as "experts" on higher education is a form of dumping.

The other side of the open-door policy is the rise of pragmatism in the younger generation - a phenomenon also seen in China, India and elsewhere. I wrote in Random Curves, scientists who work in Vietnam often complain that fewer and fewer young people want to pursue the field of basic science. Included is the "silver hair" in the scientific institutions ... The traditional Vietnam has attached importance to education ... But with the strong impact of the value system was introduced from the capitalist countries, the intellectual labor work not compete with other industries more profitable.

Even young people have been very successful in the Olympic Mathematics Contest World often do not choose a career field of math or other creative activities of science and technology.

Although the fight against the negative influence to young people is difficult, but also not completely insufficient. There have been many successful efforts in many parts of the world. In India, a leading mathematician has been teaching in the summer program in mathematics is government funding for both male and female students have achieved good results in the Olympic test . The purpose of these programs not only to teach mathematics, but also to convey the beauty and appeal of mathematical research. In the United States, Mathematical Association of Women organized "on Kovalevskaia" in secondary schools in many parts of the country. At this meeting, the women researchers to talk to girls about a lot of work is to use mathematics. Another initiative proved very successful as a program called government-sponsored "research experience at university level" [14] (moss), held in the summer at many universities, in That's my school. The professor in charge Moss trying to give the students the feeling of the original mathematical research.
6. Higher Education in America

6.1. The degradation of the knowledge base of students

Compared to most schools in the U.S., my school attracted many students fairly. University of Washington (UW) is a leading university in the northwest, and most students learn math and science at UW 20% are in the leading group in high school. Because the "inflation scores" [15] and the "stupid reform" [16], many of them often used to have high scores but only very little cost and effort.

During the period from 20 or 25 years, their level of preparedness of students entering the school gradually go down. I first realized this when a student is studying calculus course for my first year has complained to the administration about me. She said that I teach too hard, and to prove, she pointed out that to reply to a question in my exam, students must remember the formula for area of ​​a circle.

A few years ago, a colleague of mine, Professor meteorologist Cliff Mass was very disappointed to see his students could not understand the mathematical knowledge that he used in introductory courses her. To find out the gaps in knowledge of their preparation in mathematics, he gave them a "quality control" of basic math. Here are three typical questions in this test along with the percentage of students who answered incorrectly:

(1) Chia 25 × 108 to 5 × 10-5. (63% have missed this.)

(2) The area of ​​the circle radius r is how many? (31% missed this.)

(3) Let y = x / (1-x), find x in the variable y. (86% missed this.)

For comparison, it would be interesting to know how much as percent of students in Vietnam will not be able to answer these questions?

6.2. The high cost and bureaucracy

The cost of higher education in America is increasing faster than inflation and faster than income families. At many private colleges currently, on average, each year students have to pay for: tuition, fees, accommodation, meals are around $ 50,000. (In public schools, the cost to about half that number.) There has been much debate about this issue on the American press.

One reason is the high cost of college students that provides more services than before. For example, compared with students in previous generations, today's students seem to need the help of mental health and more. Many of them make use of various drugs, chemicals antihistamines, oral contraceptives, and especially the psychological treatment drugs like painkillers and other drugs reduce the intensity of activity [17 ] - and the alcohol intoxication (a form of alcoholism) is a major problem.

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