Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan tried to ease high school students' worries yesterday after many raised concerns about the new university application process.
|Candidates withdraw their applications at the Ha Noi University of Science and Technology. (Photo: VNA/VNS)|
Luan said the ministry would do its best to help the students. More than two weeks after receiving their scores, many students and parents have complained that the changes the ministry made to the university application process are confusing.
The ministry made a big change this year by combining the national high school graduation and university admission exams, but failed to develop a coherent process for how universities should use the new test scores.
Once students received their exam marks at the end of July, they put together a single paper application and send it to their first choice university. Additionally, students had to register with the ministry, listing a limit of three other schools as backup options.
Students have a 20-day window in which they can withdraw or resubmit applications as they constantly check universities' lists of freshman applicants to judge their standing.
To find out if they have been accepted, students often have to visit university websites to see the university quota, the number of registered candidates with their exam scores and calculate whether they will make the cut.
Students' rankings can change every hour, and if they fear they might not get into the school, they rush to withdraw their applications so that they may resubmit their paper application to one of their three backups. This requires that the students physically go to the university, take back their paper application and submit again.
Luan, in response to these concerns, told Vietnam News Agency and other media outlets yesterday that the ministry had carried out software upgrades so students could change their options right at their high schools or local education departments and wouldn't need to travel to the universities.
Teachers nationwide have been asked to update universities' enrollment information frequently and consult with students, he said. Relevant agencies would also do their best to provide students with adequate information so they could consider their choices carefully.
The ministry welcomed feedback from the public so it could improve the process in coming years, Luan said.
Not so simple
Ten days after sending in his enrollment form to the HCM City University of Education, 18 year-old Nguyen Van Giau from Tra Vinh province regretted his choice. Having seen the large number of students who applied to the school, he didn't feel good about his chances. He decided to withdraw his application to send it to a backup university where he thought he could get in.
But even this is not simple.
"It took me a lot of time. There are no clear instructions, so I didn't know where to go to retrieve my file and what procedures to follow. I was worried that my file might have been lost and I wouldn't be able to send it to another university. Candidates like me do not have transport or accommodation, which makes it tough when we keep getting told to come back the next day," he said, adding that he lives 200 kms from HCM City.
As of Wednesday, 1,000 students of the 7,100 who applied asked to withdraw their applications to the university.
Tran Thi Ha, who accompanied her daughter from Lam Dong Province to HCM City to withdraw the application file she had sent a the university, also complained about the difficulties.
"I worry about my daughter traveling such a long distance [300 kms] alone to deal with her file, so I have to stop work for several days to accompany her," she said.
"Why has this become so complicated? I'm tired and worried, as well," Ha said.
Kieu Xuan Thuc, head of the Training Department of the Ha Noi Industry University, said the university had to arrange a separate room for returning applications to student.
"Finding an application among thousands is not a quick job," he admitted.
confused students more than it achieved its goals of saving time, effort and expense, said Van Nhu Cuong, an associate professor and chairman of the Luong The Vinh School's board of directors.
Cuong from the Luong The Vinh School raised another issue with the applications process. He said students are not provided with clear instructions on how to pursue their preferred course of study and are therefore forced to gamble on their academic strengths.
"Students are joining in a race in which they do not know where to go," Cuong said.