Determine position and functions of political schools to meet requirements and missions in new situation
9/11/2017 17:2' Send story Print story


Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang delivered a speech at the Conference reviewing 10-year implementation of the 10th Secretariat’s Decision No. 184-QĐ/TW.

Reporter: Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang, what do you think about the time at which the Conference reviewing on 10-year implementation of the Secretariat’s Decision No. 184-QĐ/TW took place?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: Directly monitoring and managing professional operation of all political schools, Ho Chi Minh Academy of Politics is one of the advisory bodies for the 10th Secretariat to issue Decision No 184-QĐ/TW dated Sept 3rd 2008 and Decision No. 117-KL/TW dated Nov 20th 2015. These two decisions were made to require reviewing the Implementation of Decision No. 184-QĐ/TW over the 10 year period. In fact, the Academy holds an annual National Conference to review completed tasks and assign new tasks to political schools every academic year. Nevertheless, as part of the overall framework of training and fostering leaders and managers at all levels, the operation of political schools must be assessed fully and comprehensively in all levels and sectors, especially through a decade implementating of Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW. Apart from achievements, new issues have arisen and needed further consideration to suit new situations. Therefore, holding the Review Conference at this time is necessary. The Conference actually received attention of not only political schools but also governmental departments and sectors, especially provincial and municipal Party Committees, who monitor the operation of political schools in their localities.  

With the spirit of democracy and responsibility, the Conference pointed out the achievements and limitations after a decade implementing Decision No. 184-QĐ/TW, suggesting ways to   address some important issues on the operation of political schools in the coming time. From my own perspective, the conference truly reflected current operation of political schools and aspirations of their personnels.

Reporter: What are changes in the awareness of the role and functions of political schools after 10 years implementing Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW clearly defines the role and functions of political schools as organizations belonging to Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees. They are are also under the direction and regular leadership of Provincial and Municipal Standing Committees. Provincial and Municipal Party Committees are responsible for their local schools’ internal organization, policies on officials, lecturers and students, training and fostering programs. Provincial People’s Committee supervise schools’ budget, training fee and facilities. Based on the schools’ training and fostering plans, Provincial and Municipal Party Committees put forward annual plans; Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees provide money and facilities for the schools.

Under the leadership of Provincial and Municipal Party Committees as well as Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees, most political schools have cooperated effectively with the Organizing committees of Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Departments of Home Affairs and other concerned institutions to run training and fostering programs successfully, gradually defining the crucial and unique role of political schools. A great number of schools have taken the best advantage of being not only the bodies of Provincial and Municipal Party Committees but also the members of Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees. Nevertheless, due to many objective and subjective reasons, some schools have not really made use of their particular position.

After 10 years implementing Decision No. 184 QĐ/TW, there have been positive changes in the perception of political schools’ role and functions. However, we should frankly admit that the schools’ policies on personnel and facilities investment are still limited owing to the lack of awareness on their significant role. By August 2017, just 36/63 principals of political schools were members of Provincial and Municipal Party Committees; 08 principals were members of Provincial and Municipal People’s Councils and 01 principal was a member of National Assembly. Few principals were members of provincial and municipal research councils. Many schools do not have enough number of full-time staff as required by the Secretariat. The facilities of political schools are generally outdated and lack of uniformity, which greatly affects the quality of education. Officials working in the administrative and professional areas within political schools do not have the public service allowances as those working at Party Committees or at Provincial and Municipal Departments.

Reporter: Are there any outstanding points in the Academy’s management of political schools’operations?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: After the enactment of Secretariat’s Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW, the Academy actively created a breakthrough in cooperating closely with governmental ministries and departments as well as local authorities to guide political schools in implementing the decision. The Academy sent delegations headed by its leaders to work with Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees and political schools with the aim of solving difficulties in their training programs and operations. During the academic year 2016-2017, President of the Academy directly worked with 22 Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees and political schools.

Besides, the Academy issued the Official Letter No. 1123/HVCTQG (dated Sept 16th 2016) on coordination in directing political schools, suggesting that Provincial and Municipal Standing Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees select a member to take charge of political school within their localities. Up to now, 37/63 Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees have replied to the Academy’s Official Letter, choosing their leaders to be responsible for political schools.

Secondly, the Academy has established, adjusted and gave guidance on implementation of training framework towards combining theory andpractice, and increasing time for classroom discussion. So far, the Academy has developed and completed 04 frameworks, 04 textbooks on training and fostering programs for leaders and managers of local authorities; monitoring the compilation process to publish the textbook named “Situation and missions” (of provinces or sectors) within the training program of Intermediate-level politics and administration.

Thirdly, the Academy developed, issued and instructed schools to implement 02 sets of training management regulations (2010 and 2016). Thousands of political schools’ staff are provided with knowledge of leadership and management,updated professional knowledge and professional skills, knowledge on Marxist-Leninist, Ho Chi Minh’s Thought, modern teaching methods. The Academy also issued a variety of guidelines on professional activities for polical schools which could be used as handbooks by the latter. Over the past 10 years, the Academy successfully held 03 national lecturer competitions for political schools (2009, 2011, 2014).  The 4th Competition started in Oct 2017. These activities created teaching discipline from department and school level to national level, motivating lectures to self-practice.

Fourthly, the Academy organizes annual delegations to review the implementation of revised programs and training management regulations at political schools in provinces and municipals. In doing so, the Academy can offer guidance on the operation of political schools towards the more right, effective and radical way; instantly come up with suggestions to figure out difficulties and problems related to the internal organizations, facilities and policies of political schools.

Fifth, the Academy has given instructions and promoted emulation movement for groups and individuals at political schools. Policies to create a close, systematic and responsible tie between the Academy and political schools are also well developed and invested by the Academy.

Reporter: What do you think about the remarkable outcomes of training programs at political schools or schools of ministries, departments and state organizations over the past 10 years?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: In general, over 10- years implementation of Decision No. 184 QĐ/TW, training programs at political schools have been more organized with positive results, partly enhancing educational quality at provincial as well as grassroots level. Since 2009, 63 provincial political schools and 09 schools of ministries, departments and state organizations have opened more than 16.000 training courses in immediate-level politics and public administration (accounting for over 40% of the total number). Every academic year, schools of politics train about 300.000 learners on average, including 100.000 to 130.000 immediate-level learners in politics and public administration. 

It is noticeable that under the Regulation No. 164 – QĐ/TW dated Feb 1st2013 enacted by the Politburo on enhancing and updating knowledge for leaders and managers at all levels, the political schools have opened  an increasing number of courses for potential officials, updating-knowledge courses for officials category 3, training courses for officials category 4. Especially, over the past 10 years, 7 political schools have trained 870 officials at grassroots levels for Lao People’s Democratic Republic. These training activities enable officials and lecturers of political schools to exchange information, discover Lao culture, society and economy, promoting cooperation between Laos and Vietnam.

All political schools have paid more attention to renovation and improvement of training quality. To fulfill these requirements, they have gradually improved the quality of lecturers, creating favourable conditions for officials and lecturers to do specialized courses to enhance and update knowledge. In addition, they have also improved learners’ practical knowledge by building up a network of guest lecturers who are local officials with good practical experiences and comprehensive skills in different local areas.

Up to now, 14 schools have successfully operated a system of training quality management based on the ISO:9001-2015 standard, creating positive changes in the management and improvement of training cadres. The academic year 2016 – 2017 is the third year that the schools received feedbacks from learners after completing one course. This activity has become a tradition to most schools, helping schools to assess the quality of lecturers and raise responsibility among lecturers.

Reporter: There are still problems in the operation of political schools, which have been discussed at the Review Conference on 10-year implementation of Decision No 184-QĐ/TW of the Secretariat (tenure 10) and stated in the report on political schools’ operation in 2016-2017 academic year and new missions for 2017-2018 academic year. Could you clarify these drawbacks?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: Over the past 10 years, under the leadership and direction of Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s Committees, the professional guidance of the Academy, some relevant bodies and political schools, the operation of political schools has gained several positive results, partly improving the educational quality of managers at provincial and grassroots levels. With the spirit of responsibility and creativity, political schools have performed relatively well their role and functions under Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW, thereby promoting the socio-economic development of localities.

Nevertheless, frankly speaking, their training programs still have shortcomings and lack of innovation. Some contents of Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW are not implemented in the right and consistent way. Names for some schools and departments are different from each other. The training quality of political schools does not meet the requirement for developing cadres, and is incompatible with their role and functions. The number of learners often surpasses the learner quota, with uneven input quality. A number of learners are lazy, studying with the aim of only obtaining certificates or gaining career promotion. The number of full-time classes sees a downward trend whereas the number of part-time classes, especially classes at grassroots levels, witnesses an increase, resulting in loose supervision for teaching and learning. Many lecturers are not flexible in applying positive teaching methods. Classroom discussions are underestimated as a number of lecturers do not pay sufficient attention to this activity. The testing process is uncreative. Monitoring self-study in most political schools is not effective. Some schools even cut down the amount of the training programs. The organization and management of fieldwork activities of lecturers and learners have not brought about good results. Learner assessment tends to be easy and thus, ineffective. The rising number of good learners does not accurately reflect the training quality. Supporting activities to enhance the educational quality are monotonous.

Admittedly, the leaders of some schools do not specialize in political science or pedagogy and just have a bachelor’s degree. Some of them are not eligible for their position due to lack of agreement on personnels between local Party Committees and professional departments. Many schools do not ensure that two thirds of full-time staff are lecturers and researchers as required. The work of officials who hold several positions at schools is not regular and ineffective.

School facilities do not meet the demand of lecturers and learners for teaching and research. Most political schools are narrow and have too limited budget to build multi-purpose rooms. There are 12 schools possessing an area of less than 1 ha (19,05%), 18 schools with an area of 1 ha to less than 2 ha (28.57%), 21 schools with an area of 2 ha to less than 3 ha (33.33%), just 12 schools with an area of over 3 ha (19.05%). Dormitories are small and badly-equipped. The fact that some schools even had to hire classrooms has had negative impacts on learning and teaching.Reporter: What are difficulties the Academy has to face when supervising professional work of political schools as well as schools of departments and sectors nationwide?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: According to Decision No. 184 – QĐ/TW dated Sept 3rd,2008, the Secretariat assigned specific tasks to particular central committees, ministries, Provincial and Municipal Party committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s committees to implement the Decision. Basically, central committees, ministries, Provincial and Municipal Party committees, Provincial and Municipal People’s committees all agreed on and actively carried out these assignments, and hence, partly enabling political schools to do their duty.

However, there are still many problems that need to be resolved. For example, there is an inconsistency between regulations on admission standards for intermediate-level learners in Politics and Administration adopted by the Academy (Admission Regulation in Decision No. 268/QĐ-HVCT-HCQG dated Feb 3rd 2010; Decision No. 1855/QĐ-HVCTQG dated April 21st 2016) and general regulations adopted by the Central Propaganda and Training Commission (Guideline No. 65-HD/BTGTW dated Dec 11th 2012 on basic-level program of political theory. As such, people without basic level of political theory (or equivalent certificate) are not permitted to enroll in immediate-level courses).

In terms of lecturers’ working  regulations, there are differences between Academy’s Decision No. 1855/QĐ-HVCTQG dated April 21st 2016 and Join Circular No. 06/2011/TTLT-BNV-BGDĐT dated June 6th 2011 approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Training. In particular, qualifications, duties, working hours, personnel policies for lecturers at training organizations of ministries, governmental bodies, provincial and municipal schools of politics are dissimilar, resulting in difficulties for schools to operate.

As stated in Decision No. 184/QD/TW, the Academy directs and guides political schools in terms of professional issues. Its legal role of state management on school’s training and scientific research is unclear so the Academy face some obstacles in cooperating with relevant authorities (especially on issues regarding policies, internal organizations, facilities, and the like). The guidelines on conferment of academic titles to lecturers and researcher are not well developed. All of these partly affect both the quality  and efficiency of the Academy’s training and management over the operation of political schools natinonwide over the past few years.  

Reporter: In the next period, what will be the Academy’s focus to improve the operation of political schools in implementing new requirements and new missions?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: Under the comprehensive leadership of provincial and municipal party committees, under the guidance of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics on professional issues, political schools have gained essential achievements in the academic year 2016-2017 with the motto “discipline, synchronization, innovation, and effectiveness”. The Academy, political schools and schools of ministries or departments have conducted breakthrough activities, gaining big success with various new models, drawing precious experiences to enhance their position and role in the process of socio-economic development and building strong political system in localities.

In the next years, the Academy will cooperate with central committees of the Communist Party, relevant ministries and branches to guide political schools to implement the decisions of the Secretariat on its functions, missions, internal organizations and standards. It is also necessary for the Academy to reach agreements on leadership, direction and management of political schools, considering them as Party’s offices under the direct and comprehensive leadership of provincial and municipal standing committees. The Academy’s imminent task is to establish and implement the Project on “Innovation of training and fostering programs, including intermediate-level courses in political and administrative theories as well as exclusive fostering courses for leaders and managers at grassroots levels”.

Political schools are obliged to innovate training system, scientific research, practical revision, and building staff, which is the most important task. In terms of educational management, it is suggested to: strictly follow training programs, regulations and guidances of the Academy; increase the number of full-time classes; focus on raising revolutionary spirit and politics self-study; provide training on comprehensive knowledge and skills for officials at grassroots levels; concentrate on lecturing observation and getting student feedbacks; encourage schools to strictly assess training quality based on the ISO: 9001-2015. It is expected that all political schools throughout the country meet the standards by the year 2025.

In the academic year 2017-2018, political schools should continue to implement solutions to: improve training effectiveness, increase scientific studies; successfully organize the 6th national teaching competition for political schools and schools of ministries in 2017; improve the quality of performances among participants; standardize political schools to meet the requirements of accelerated industrialization, modernization and international integration.

Reporter: What are the Academy’s proposals to the Party in order to enhance training quality at political schools?

Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang: 10 years implementing Decision No. 184-QĐ/TW reveals that the government needs to issue new Regulation on functions, missions, internal organizations of political schools. We also need an official set of standards for political schools along with principles for accreditation process. The new Decision should clarify more specifically the positions, roles, functions, missions and powers of political schools; defining the role of the Academy as not only the monitoring institution on professional issues but also a management agency of political schools in the country. 

Reporter: Thank you so much!


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Translator: Nguyen Thi Viet Nga/ Proofreader: Le Xuan Tung