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Training and fostering Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers

(LLCT) - Training and fostering a contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers plays a pivotal role in improving the quality and effectiveness of teaching, research, and communication about Ho Chi Minh's life, career, and thought. The article focuses on clarifying the process of building such a contingent and the betterment of their training quality.

Keywords: training, fostering, research, teaching Ho Chi Minh Thought.

In the course of leading the cause of renovation, building and defending the socialist Fatherland, Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought is always affirmed consistently as the ideological foundation and guideline for the Party’s action and the Vietnamese revolution. From that viewpoint, the research, teaching and communication of Ho Chi Minh Thought are defined as the core task of the Party’s ideological and theoretical work. First and foremost it is required to build a strong contingent of researchers and lecturers to successfully popularize Ho Chi Minh Thought on par with the assigned tasks.

1. Significant results

To date, the contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers has developed in both quantity and quality, increasingly been strengthened from central to local levels, particularly at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, provincial political schools, and faculties of political ideology in universities and colleges(1).

Since the 2003 - 2004 school year, Ho Chi Minh Thought has been taught as a subject in all universities and colleges. To fulfill this important task, besides the building and compiling of Ho Chi Minh Thought coursebooks and preparing necessary facilities, a decisive factor to ensure the quality of teaching and research is a contingent of researchers and lecturers equipped with in-depth knowledge of Ho Chi Minh Thought and scientific teaching and research methods. This contingent is also an example of enthusiastic self-study and practice on Ho Chi Minh’s life, career, and thought.

In the 2000s, the Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers were trained from many sources, with various majors; many of them were trained in another discipline, some were not equipped with equivalent political theoretical levels (advanced and intermediate levels), some lacked knowledge of fundamental Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought; a number of lecturers, particularly the young ones, lacked practical experience and needed qualifications in accordance with the standards of Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers; some were still weak in teaching methods(2).

To meet the need for training of Ho Chi Minh Thought at graduate level and Ho Chi Minh studies at postgraduate levels (doctoral, master degrees); the need to improve the political theoretical levels (bachelor, advanced degrees); the need of training to change the major; the need for intensive training and fostering on the teaching methods of Ho Chi Minh Thought, since 2001, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA), provincial political schools, universities of social sciences and humanities and universities of teachers’ training have organized various courses to train Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers in different forms and scopes, in accordance with the decisions of the Prime Minister on the training and fostering of cadres and State employees, and lecturers for political theory.

In order to fulfill the requirements and mission of teaching Ho Chi Minh Thought in colleges and universities in particular, and the task of research, communication and education on Ho Chi Minh Thought in general, institutions of tertiary education have promptly revised and completed their training programs on political science for graduate and postgraduate cadres. On the basis of learning and mastering Ho Chi Minh Thought, the viewpoints and policies of the Party and State, lecturers are equipped with fundamental and in-depth knowledge of Ho Chi Minh Thought as well as interdisciplinary knowledge.

Under the instruction of the Party, the training and fostering of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers was performed by different levels: 1) Institutes, schools under the national education system; 2) HCMA and its subsidiaries; 3) Institutes and schools under the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security.

Those institutions have contributed to the building of a contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers within the Party and in society, as well as in the international arena.

Details are as follows: Training of Ho Chi Minh Thought at graduate level in the Academy of Journalism and Communication (first regular training at the Faculty of Ho Chi Minh Thought in 2005); Training of Ho Chi Minh Thought at postgraduate level (master, doctoral degrees) in various institutions, such as HCMA (master courses on Ho Chi Minh studies since 2004-2005; doctoral courses since 2015-2016), University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Hanoi (since 2005, training for master’s and doctoral degrees in Ho Chi Minh studies at the Faculty of Political Science since 2005).

Besides, other forms of training, fostering and updating knowledge, skills on teaching methods for Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers were conducted on a regular basis, such as political theory training (intermediate, advanced levels); fostering lecturers in Ho Chi Minh Thought, classic Marxism - Leninism; fostering the active teaching methods; and computer and foreign language training.

To overcome the limitations of knowledge and teaching methods, over the past 10 years, HCMA, particularly the Institute of Ho Chi Minh and Party’s Leaders, has organized many training courses for Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers who already have a BA degree or higher, and are teaching or expected to teach Ho Chi Minh Thought at HCMA; who work in cities’ or provincial political schools, universities and colleges; and researchers working in Party and State agencies who wish to become Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers; to create a pool of cadres for higher levels of training. Each 4-month class has approximately 30-60 students. After the course, the learners will be granted with the Certificate for Ho Chi Minh Thought Lecturer(3).

At the same time, as requested by the University of Teachers’ Training II, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (particularly the Institute of Ho Chi Minh and the Party’s Leaders) coordinates with this university to open a number of training classes for Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers. Eligible applicants are students with a bachelor’s degree or final year students. Each class has approximately 20-25 students, and lasts for 4 months.

In addition, the HCMA organizes classes to foster and update knowledge of Ho Chi Minh Thought for its lecturers, as well as those from political schools, and cadre training schools of different ministries(4).

Notably, over the past 10 years, the Political School and the Department of Education and Training of Ninh Thuan province have cooperated with the HCMA to annually organize Ho Chi Minh Thought fostering classes (02 per year, for about 200 teachers, mainly from the provincial high schools, secondary schools and educational administrators)(5).

Together with the HCMA, a number of institutions organize training courses for Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers. Under the guidance of the Central Committee for Communication and Education, with the consent of the Ministry of Education and Training, since 2000, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (Vietnam National University, Hanoi) and the Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City have organized training courses for Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers. Attendees are officials, Ho Chi Minh Thought lecturers, and graduate students who major in social sciences and humanities. The courses provide fundamental theoretical knowledge of Ho Chi Minh Thought, updated research findings about Ho Chi Minh through a number of scientific works of researchers who work at universities and academies; aiming at applying the acquired knowledge to teaching and research to meet the requirements of theoretical and practical renovation. The courses are taught by professors, associate professors, and experts, researchers and lecturers in Ho Chi Minh Thought from the two universities, HCMA and some central agencies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Each course lasts for 4 months.

The contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers also participate in fostering classes to acquire updated knowledge in social sciences and humanities.

Besides curriculum development and textbook compilation(6), the development of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers is associated with the organizational structure building. Currently, many universities have Faculties of Political Theory (formerly Marxist-Leninist Faculties), teaching 2 subjects: Fundamental Principles of Marxism-Leninism; and Ho Chi Minh Thought - The revolutionary path of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The HCMA has the Institute of Ho Chi Minh and the Party’s Leaders; and in Political Academies (in regions I, II, III) and Academy of Journalism and Communication, there is Faculty of Ho Chi Minh Thought. The Academy of Politics under the Ministry of Defense also has the Faculty of Ho Chi Minh Thought; and the People’s Public Security Academy of Politics has the Faculty of Party’s History and Ho Chi Minh Thought.

Over the past years, the Party and State have facilitated and set priorities to human resources development, training, fostering, rotating, and utilization of the contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers(7).

Through these training and fostering courses, Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers have deepened and expanded their knowledge, at the same time, their teaching capability is also enhanced. Consequently, it contributes to their effective application of theory to practice, and really affirming the protection of the Party’s ideology against wrongful and distorted viewpoints.

The contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers has made significant contribution to the research findings on Ho Chi Minh’s legacies, as well as to the achievements in theoretical work in general. At the same time, they strongly and effectively communicate about Ho Chi Minh’s career and thought in the Party and society. In implementation of Directive No.05-CT/TW dated May 15, 2016 of the Politburo (12th tenure) on promoting the learning and following of Ho Chi Minh’s Thought, morality and lifestyle, the Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers throughout the country have played a “dual role”: direct researchers and lecturers and communicators of Ho Chi Minh Thought.

2. Limitations and shortcomings

In spite of the achievements in the training and fostering of the contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers, there still remain limitations and shortcomings in the new situation. To date, the number of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers is still modest compared to the actual demand. Thus, it is not really on par with the research, teaching, communication on Ho Chi Minh Thought in society, as well as the introduction of Ho Chi Minh’s life, career, thought, morality and lifestyle to the world.

First of all, the quality of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers is still limited. The lack of these researchers and lecturers in institutes and universities still remains, and those who are capable of performing major research works on Ho Chi Minh studies decreased(8). Additionally, lecturers have to fulfill such a huge amount of teaching hours at universities and colleges that they do not have time for basic and in-depth study of Ho Chi Minh Thought.

Those reasons lead to the modest quality of research works on Ho Chi Minh Thought. Most of researches remain limited, not profound enough, with few new findings. Thus, it is not commensurate with the image of Ho Chi Minh as an outstanding leader, thinker, national liberation hero, and cultural celebrity, not on par with the ideological foundation of the Party, and of the revolution. Those researches are mainly statistical and descriptive and fail to clarify the creative application and development of Marxism - Leninism by Ho Chi Minh. Besides, little progress is recorded in the researches on the performance of the Party’s guidelines in fighting against the anti-Marxist-Leninist and anti-Ho Chi Minh Thought. In spite of a large quantity of researches, many of those have overlapping content. During the research process, very few problems are raised for discussion, even some are avoided. There are gaps and issues that are still controversial and have not been adequately explained(9). The aforementioned issues stem from the limitations and shortcomings of the contingent of the Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers.

Second, there are still limitations in the organizational apparatus of institutions specialized in researching and teaching Ho Chi Minh Thought. In spite of their organizational restructuring and streamlining, these institutions are still organized in different ways. For examples, there are faculties (like in the HCMA system, and the Academy of Political and National Defense under the Ministry of Defense); or a discipline under Faculties of Political Theory (in most universities), or a combined discipline with other faculties, such as political theory and social sciences and humanities (like in the University of Fire Fight and Prevention, People’s Public Security Academy), or a combined discipline with some other sciences, including Party’ history (in the People’s Public Security Academy of Politics), or a discipline under the Faculty of Political Science (in the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ha Noi), and such. This, to a certain extent, has limited the development of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers and led to differences in the curriculum and lectures. On the other hand, the weak coordination among the management agencies and the research and teaching institutions of Ho Chi Minh Thought has led to the stop-gap measures, without close, regular, uniform and focus cooperation.

Third, the training, fostering and building of a contingent of future cadres and experts does not meet the requirements, resulting in a lack of leading researchers and lecturers. The current contingent of researchers and lecturers is diverse in training majors (mainly from history and philosophy) that causes the current inconsistency in teaching methods, even incorrect perceptions in teaching and research methods. Additionally, the teaching methods are not flexible. Moreover, most of researchers and lecturers have inadequate foreign languages competence, so it is difficult for them to exchange and discuss on academic issues, to expand cooperation in the discipline of Ho Chi Minh studies globally. Besides, most of researchers and lecturers have little opportunity for field trips abroad to practice and expand their knowledge.

Meanwhile, the training and fostering of the Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers are not well-prepared and still passive. Classes have so many students (up to 100 student/class like in the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University Ha Noi, and Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City). The program framework is little updated, with few new changes (previously based mainly on lectures for undergraduate students). Most of the learners are newly graduates.

In general, the contingent of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers education “is large, but not strong, and there are few leading theoretical experts in the fields”(10).

3. Recommendations

In order to continue to improve the quality of training and fostering the Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers in the coming time, the following key tasks are recommended:

- Strengthen the leadership of the Party, the coordination of relevant agencies for the training and fostering of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers.

Training and fostering Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers is an important task of the Party, on the basis of understanding Ho Chi Minh Thought on unlimited learning, combining learning and practice, theory and reality, knowledge and moral qualities of a revolutionary soldier. This requires a close coordination among many sectors.

In particular, first of all, it is necessary to pay attention to the building and perfecting the coordination mechanism between the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, the Central Committee for Organization, the Central Committee for Communication and Education, and theoretical research and education agencies, provincial political schools; cooperation among scholars and administrators specialized in Ho Chi Minh studies, and such, in defining the functions, tasks, organizational structure of the system of research and educational institutions on Ho Chi Minh Thought; to elaborate specific guidance on standards, subjects and decentralization of training and fostering for Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers and to design appropriate training policies and framework.

Strengthening the coordination among agencies in revising and orientation and content appraisal of training programs; fostering, improving theoretical and professional skills, research methods on Ho Chi Minh Thought; directing the training institutions to renew; improving the quality of training and fostering Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers; to ensure consistency of training programs and the training time.

- The study of Ho Chi Minh is a specific, difficult discipline which requires researchers and lecturers to have ethical qualities, knowledge, mettle, experience, and bright revolutionary emotions. Therefore, it is necessary to promote the renewal of mechanisms and policies in creating resources to recruit, train, foster, attract talented people, people with bravery and experience to build up a contingent which is sufficient in quantity and high in quality, synchronous from central to local levels, with continuity and inheritance between generations. Creating an attractive environment (in terms of working conditions, salary, housing policies, etc.) so that Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers can feel secure and enthusiastic about their work.

Actively training and fostering a contingent of experts (currently limited in quantity). Strengthening bachelor’s training in Ho Chi Minh Thought (by implementing the Government’s proposal No. 587 assigning Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics to make an important contribution to solving this problem), postgraduate training (master, doctoral degree), in order to response the shortage of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers, thus, creating abundant and potential resource supplies for training and research institutions throughout the country.

It is necessary to maintain a state-level scientific research program on Ho Chi Minh Thought to motivate and gather all forces, to increase the quantity and improve the quality of researchers and lecturers. Because only by deepening the research on Ho Chi Minh Thought can reinforce and firmly protect the ideological foundation of the Party. At the same time, it is recommended to continue collecting and exploiting documents which are currently scattered in Vietnam and foreign countries, to serve the research and training of Ho Chi Minh Thought. Besides, it is necessary to organize more narrow seminars and workshops on the unsolved issues in research, education and communication about Ho Chi Minh.

Teaching, studying and communicating Ho Chi Minh Thought is a noble and glorious profession, with a function of the Party’s communication staff. Institutions that train and foster Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers not only act as an ideological, educational and training tool, but also an organizational tool of the Party, thus, contribute to improving the quality of the current contingent and the future one.

Building and promoting the role of Ho Chi Minh Thought researchers and lecturers on the front of ideology and theory, contributing to providing scientific arguments for the Party and the State’s policy-making; contributing to improving people’s knowledge, training human resources, fostering talents for the country; promptly refuting the allegations that distort Ho Chi Minh Thought, the Party’s renewal path, contributing to the success of the renovation cause, the steady confidence in the revolutionary path that the Party, President Ho Chi Minh and our people have chosen.

__________________

Endnotes:

(1) In the 2001-2005 period, there were more than 2,000 lecturers teaching Marxist - Leninist and Ho Chi Minh Thought in universities throughout the country. See Thuy Anh: “Teaching and studying Ho Chi Minh Thought at universities and colleges”. Source: http://www.xaydungdang.org.vn.

(2) Plan of training and fostering lecturers in political theory period 2005-2010 (Issued together with Decision No. 1/2004/QD-BNV dated 22-7-2004 of the Minister of Home Affairs).

(3) Supplementary topics (16 curriculum units) and intensive classes (29 curriculum units), such as: Targets, methodology and research methods of Ho Chi Minh Thought; Basic topics about Ho Chi Minh Thought; Some extensive topics on Ho Chi Minh Thought and career; Teaching method of Ho Chi Minh Thought (theory, preparation of lectures, testing lectures; Field trips, final assignment: 8 curriculum units.

(4) These classes have been opened from 2000 to the present. Each class lasts for 5 days. The curriculum is designed with 7 topics and 01 seminar session.

(5) During 6 days, students learn the basic contents of Ho Chi Minh Thought: Origin, formation process of Ho Chi Minh Thought; Ho Chi Minh Thought on the nation and revolution of national liberation; Ho Chi Minh Thought on socialism and building socialism in Vietnam; Ho Chi Minh Thought on the Communist Party of Vietnam and the State of the people, by the people and for the people; Ho Chi Minh Thought on great solidarity, ethics, culture, education; the revolutionary method and Ho Chi Minh style; Learning, applying and developing Ho Chi Minh Thought in the renewal process.

(6) The Central Committee for Communication and Education in coordination with the Party Committee of the Ministry of Education and Training completed 5 curricula and textbooks for 5 political theory subjects (Marxist-Leninist philosophy; Political Economics; Scientific Socialism; Ho Chi Minh Thought; History of the Communist Party of Vietnam) for both professional and non-professional groups in the undergraduate education system. The Central Committee for Communication and Education coordinated with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to develop a new political education program for the colleges and vocational secondary schools of the national education system to put into the official curriculum for 2019 - 2020.

(7) Over the past years, the Academy has made many innovations in the recruitment of staff or selecting from the number of master and doctoral students who have studied at the Academy; or whose doctorate is or equivalent to Ho Chi Minh Thought major.

(8) Statistics show that in 2012, the number of postgraduate lecturers increased significantly, while the number of doctoral lecturers doubled and the number of masters was approximately 3 times higher than in 2005. However, lecturers with doctoral degree mainly worked in the academies, while few worked in the provincial political schools. On the other hand, many lecturers are still teaching subjects which are not their majors. For example, among the 3,144 lecturers working in provincial political schools and the training centers of ministries and branches, nearly 20% of those are teaching the subjects that do not belong to their university majors. In addition, approximately 2,601 lecturers who have not been trained in advanced courses on political theory, state management are working in the Academy of Administration, Academy of Journalism and Communication, provincial political schools and political centers of ministries. Sources: The training plan for lecturers of political theory and of state management for the period 2012-2015 (Issued together with Decision No.875/QD-BNV dated September 18, 2012 by the Ministry of Home Affairs).

(9) See also: Study and education of Ho Chi Minh Thought in the renovation period, Political Theory Publishing House, Hanoi, 2005, p.262-80.

(10) Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW dated October 9, 2014 of the Politburo on the work of research theory and orientation to 2030.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Van Loi

Vice President, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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