Hanoi looks to PhD’s for ‘breakthrough ideas’ in the future

Published: 26/09/2009 05:00



Dr. Le Anh Sac.

Hanoi recently adopted a plan to multiply the number of PhD’s in the higher ranks of the city administration, and has set ambitious goals to recruit, train and retain ‘talent.’

Hanoi aims to have more officials with Ph.D degrees

Dr. Le Anh Sac insists that if Hanoi wants officials able to suggest new things and push breakthrough ideas, it must recruit Ph.D’s. Sac, a senior expert at the Hanoi Department of Home Affairs, is one of the drafters of the capital city’s new strategy on personnel.

This strategy sets ambitious goals: 100 percent of officials reporting to city’s Party Committee must have Ph.D degrees, 100 percent of officials reporting to the Hanoi People’s Committee must have postgraduate degrees, and 100 percent of key officials of communes, wards and towns must hold at least university diplomas by 2020. Half of the latter group should have postgraduate degrees.

VietNamNet’s Cao Nhat talked Dr. Sac about the new strategy.

Why did the Hanoi Department of Home Affairs design this strategy?

In 2008, the Department implemented a scientific research project on a system of titles and standards for setting titles for officials in administrative agencies of Hanoi. With this foundation, a Department working group led by Deputy Director Le Quoc Cuong, work out the new strategy on personnel in only three months.

The city’s officials are divided into two groups: policy-making officials (commanders) and executive officers. We think that the qualifications of the two groups must be at the same level at least.

Our statistics show that presently the qualifications of the executive group are one level higher than the group of policy-making officials. The gap is wider for the higher positions.

Of Hanoi’s 7500 officials, there are only 56 Ph.D degree holders and slightly more than 500 master’s degree holders.

What will we have to do to realize the plan?

Firstly, the city has funds to train capable officials, so current staff who are able to earn high degrees will be given the opportunity. Secondly, Hanoi is the home for many universities so the city can choose top students for further training. The number of doctor’s degree holders trained at home is high and we can recruit them.

What is the biggest challenge in implementing the strategy?

The biggest challenge is we have is to avoid tension between current officials and the sort of officials we aim for in the future.

For example, there will be a conflict of interest if all current officials are paid only 3 million dong a month and suddenly a “talented” person is recruited and paid up to 10 million dong per month, and also provided with an apartment.

I have to admit a fact that only a few talented people want to join government agencies. Each year Hanoi rewards many top students but just a handful of them work for the city government.

Hanoi annually rewards many top university students but a few of them join the city’s government agencies.

But it is said that for officials, experience is more important than degrees. What do you think about that?

So far, degrees are the only objective measurement.

In our view, each person has to be equipped with fundamental knowledge in order to assimilate and use valuable experience. People who are experienced but have limited knowledge can help solve personal matters only, not in an administrative structure to serve the people and the country.

In our training system and in international practice, those [with the capacity to] suggest new things and breakthrough ideas must be the one who have Ph.D degrees and are recognized by a state-level scientific council.

Do you think that the above strategy is too ambitious and unfeasible?

Setting high targets will put pressure on the city to create mechanisms to achieve the goals. If we face up to challenges and difficulties, we will find solutions.

We have surveyed and learnt experience from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Looking at their contingents of officials, we really “long” for the same. And why can’t we?

Cao Nhat

Provide by Vietnam Travel

Hanoi looks to PhD’s for ‘breakthrough ideas’ in the future - Interviews - In depth |  vietnam travel company

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