Life Life

22/11/2018 - 09:00

"We must raise aspirations for university students ..."

This has been noted by Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Quang Linh, President of Hue University, in a recent interview with Thua Thien Hue Weekly newspaper on the occasion of Vietnamese Teachers' Day.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Quang Linh, President of Hue University

"In the Vietnamese culture and education, teacher has always had a very decisive role, even in the university environment. The most important role of teachers is to lead and present an exemplary model in not only teaching but also in personality and morality. In the 4.0 era, the role of teachers is increasingly important,” commented Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Quang Linh.

What changes do teachers in the 4.0 era need to make as compared to the previous time, sir? 

In the 4.0 age, teachers must be intellectuals with strong academic knowledge and skills. Besides, they should equip themselves with advanced practical capabilities in order to lead effectively. In the 4.0 age, the teacher himself needs to approach knowledge first. He or she needs to be aware that some knowledge can only be imparted by orienting and guiding their students to acquire. Teachers may not know everything but they can motivate and facilitate students’ self-learning and making progress. This is an inevitable trend because advanced technology is progressing rapidly. If the teacher is fully prepared, the learner can adapt quickly.

It's not easy to change with time. Is this the problem of teachers in Hue, sir?

In the university education environment for Hue, the teacher still retains the traditional simplicity, elegance, and calmness. These characteristics have engraved in the minds of the locals and in the culture of the ancient capital.

However, every coin has two sides. I think that for the teachers in Hue, the beauty of their reputable virtues should be maintained and further promoted, but updates and progression is of vital importance as well, especially the need to nurture more ambitions and hopes for students to develop and encouraging them to seek for new challenges. To do so, the teacher must first change his mind. The traditional academic appearance should also embrace a breakthrough, ready mind for technology and science, which will lay a foundation for students to develop even further.

Do you mean we need to reconcile the two internal and external elements?

Yes, but this is a difficult issue. In fact, purely academic teachers tend to be limited in dynamics and change. In all areas, including education, what is stable and long-lasting carries a risk of innovation shortfall. This is not only the problem of teachers and lecturers in Hue, but a common feature of many educational institutions in the country. In fact, education stability is maintained at the cost of closed mindsets, which does not satisfy the needs of society, especially in the context of market economy where Vietnam’s economic model is changing rapidly.

A class period of students at the University of Education

In the 4.0 era, higher education environment must create novel breakthroughs. These creations must be unique and original, one that no-one else has ever done before, to be able to succeed. Depending on the nature of each profession, artificial intelligence, to some extent, can perform simple, repetitive tasks, but cannot replace the relationship between workers and the products.

Many people think that the teacher - student bond in the technology era lacks cohesion, and this causes more difficulties. Do you think so?

It is true that the close tie of teachers and students at university are not as strong as before, but not only because of the distance between teachers and students at school, but also because of the lack of bond in life. In the past, the tie between teachers and students was stronger because the teachers themselves focused only on teaching activities; nowadays, they have many more concerns including their own life. Similarly, students were previously keen on acquiring useful knowledge from their teachers, but now they can learn from different sources at different times. Moreover, we have seen changes in students too, as they like to follow popular trends and enjoy life to the fullest while putting less effort and energy in learning.

Technology is growing fast but there is still room for cohesive bonds. The biggest change should be the student and teacher’s dedication to the profession, to the society, and to the family. With dedication, any environment is favorable for connecting.

So, in your opinion, should there be criteria for a 4.0 teacher?

Identifying the criteria of a 4.0 teacher is truly difficult because intellectual labor is associated with 4.0 technology, in which certain aspects of artificial intelligence can baffle our evaluation of teachers. Often, teachers are evaluated by their workload, by their productivity for well-known publications, by technological products transferred to society, or by the volume of their lecture hours.

But with 4.0, it is not easy to apply. Presenting a lecture using projector or lecturing with an electronic lesson plan is not enough, as they just provide knowledge, while skills and competence must be acquired through teacher’s guidance. For example, it is hard for teachers who only know the application of high technology but do not have the practical ability to inspire students to develop their competence, occupational skills, and soft skills.

What I want to mention here is “How should we determine the quality, performance, morality of the teacher to make proper adjustment?”

It may seem difficult, but not impossible with the determination of both the employer and the employee to devise a clear set of measurable criteria and beneficial outcomes of each job task. Currently, many units have started to address this target, and Hue University is also building a system of evaluation criteria according to labor position and duty. These criteria will be categorized into general and specific sets.

Please share what Hue University will do in accordance with these criteria?

At first, favorable environment to boost motivation is provided along with material and psychological benefits. It is crucial to create an autonomous professional and academic environment as this is the goal of university’s governance, and in doing so the teacher will have a supportive environment for creativity. In addition to the efforts of educational institutions, the most important things are the macro policies of the Government.

At Hue University, we are now supplementing and modifying the job placement scheme in a way that is close to the actual situation of the current higher education sector while also restructuring the training disciplines and streamlining the organization structure and revenue streams to fulfill the requirements of financial autonomy. We are also rebuilding the system of assessment criteria according to the new assessment approach from the state; strengthening the role and responsibility of the leaders in terms of work and exemplary attitude.

The virtues of teachers should be highly appreciated and promoted so that the university education environment is truly an academic, creative but culturally appropriate and going along with the moral environment of the Vietnamese people in any socio-economic situation. Teachers must possess ample theoretical and practical knowledge, ability, skills and professional enthusiasm to continue their teaching duties, vocational training; and to present a role model of lifestyle and personality.

Thank you, sir!

By Huu Phuc