Vietnam National University master's degrees found to be invalid

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Education officials and teachers pose at the opening ceremony of an MBA course held jointly by Griggs University at Vietnam National University in Hanoi

Many master's degrees granted by Vietnam National University (VNU) in Hanoi will be considered invalid unless the holders conduct theses, while other degrees will require applicants to demonstrate English competency.

The students will be given until the end of next June to properly qualify themselves, or their "inappropriate" degrees will be permanently annulled, the Ministry of Education and Training said early this week in its notice the university.

Government inspectors earlier found eight programs for public management master's degrees at VNU's University of Economics and Business did not comply with regulations that require students to write theses and defend them before an academic council.

Other university and master's degrees granted under joint programs between VNU's Center for Educational Technology and Career Development and U.S. universities Griggs and Delaware, meanwhile, need to be accompanied by TOEFL or IELTS certificates, in compliance with regulations by the U.S. Distance Education and Training Council.

The ministry said the English certificates are entrance requirements for the programs. Students of undergraduate programs must score at least 500 on the TOEFL test; 61 on the TOEFL iBT (internet based test); or 6 on the IELTS test. Applicants to Griggs and Delaware master's programs are required to score at least 530 on the TOEFL; 71 on the TOEFL iBT; or 6.5 on the IELTS.

It also indefinitely suspended all joint programs currently offered by the VNU center nationwide.

The center was accused of being uncooperative during government inspections by not producing student archives when requested.

State inspectors finished their probe into joint education programs at universities in early January, concluding that Vietnam National University in Hanoi was the top violator.

They found that more than 46 percent of the total 419 joint education programs being conducted at 18 universities in Vietnam were not complying with regulations.

Information on which actions have been ordered to take at the other schools has not been made available.

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