French-trained PhD fails Vietnam civil service exam

By Tue Nguyen-Dan Ha, Thanh Nien News

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The opening ceremony of the 2014 school year at Hanoi-Amsterdam High School. Photo: Phat Tran

A French-trained doctor of physics failed a civil service exam for high school teachers in the capital city of Hanoi, raising more questions about Vietnam’s red tape.
Dinh Tran Phuong, who was awarded a PhD in physics in France, took the exam offered by the municipal education department to teachers at the Hanoi-Amsterdam School for the Gifted in March.
Phuong has worked as a teacher at the school for several years on year-to-year contracts and took the exam to become a long-term employee.
During an August 21 meeting of the Hanoi People's Committee, Le Thi Oanh, the principal of the school claimed that another of her teachers, who holds a British master's degree, failed the school’s civil service exam.
Oanh said the school wanted to recruit both teachers as long-term employees without making them take the exam, but current regulations prohibit them from doing so.
Nguyen Huu Do, director of the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, said current regulations don't exempt anyone from taking civil service entrance exams for positions at government offices, agencies or schools.
During the meeting, former Deputy Minister of Interior Thang Van Phuc said it’s high time Vietnam adjusted its regulations to draw well-educated Vietnamese back home.
Others concurred that the country should roll out the "red carpet" to talented individuals trained in developed countries who are willing to work in Vietnam.
Several individuals present at the proceedings suggested creating incentives to keep them here. 
Le Nhu Tien, deputy head of the parliamentary education committee, said the government should carefully review civil service entrance exams to see if they are being administered in a righteous and transparent way.
Several scandals recently erupted around civil service entrance exams being administered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Test takers blew the whistle on the exams, alleging that test questions had been leaked to a group of “princelings.” Most of the recruits who passed the exams turned out to be relatives of individuals who hold high positions in the ministry.
The scandals sparked public outrage about the influence of nepotism in Vietnam’s public administration system.

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