Experts are criticizing the central city of Da Nang for its recent decision to disqualify in-service students from government jobs from next year.
In Vietnam, in-service training programs target people who are looking to start work right after graduating from high schools and vocational schools. While working, they attend four-year university programs.
The decision was announced earlier this week with an aim to increase the quality of civil servants, according to local officials.
However, experts, including educators and officials, don't think so, saying that the decision is unfair.
In an interview with Thanh Nien, Phan Manh Tien, deputy chief of the Ministry of Education's Higher Education Department, said that, while it's Da Nang's own business to recruit civil servants for its agencies, it can't discriminate based on someone's education status.
If the city wants to improve the quality of its human resources, it should hold examinations to recruit the right people, Tien stressed.
Agreeing with Tien, Pham Tat Dong, Vice Chairman of Vietnam's Study Encouragement Association, said Da Nang's decision is extreme, and doesn't guarantee that it will be able to recruit good people.
Not all people graduating from in-service training program perform poorly, and not all university graduates are good, he said.
Da Nang should reconsider its decision, and focus more on an applicants' real capacity rather than his or her degree type, Dong said.
Tran Hong Quan, former minister of Education and Training claims that, on paper, both university and in-service degrees have the same value.
Not to mention that in-service training needs encouragement, considering Vietnam wants to build a "studying society," he said.
Quan acknowledged that questions were raised regarding the diligence of in-service graduates after media investigations revealed that some students obtained their degrees without attending their courses. Still, he said, that group represents a minority.
Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee of Culture Education Youth and Children, also said the decision doesn't guarantee fairness among various degrees.
In-service degrees are issued upon completion of an undergraduate course, Thuyet said.
However, there are differences between full-time undergraduates and in-service ones, he said.
For example, the latter's examination and supervision systems are less strict than the former. Many students are able to acquire degrees even though they never go to class, he said.
The latest move by the Da Nang People's Committee, therefore, while is unpopular, also reveals the fact that in-service degrees are not particularly valued, Thuyet said.
What's important is that the Education Ministry needs to review its in-service training system, he said.