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Symposium “Research by the HCMA for the benefit of national renovation”

(LLCT) - In celebration of the Vietnam Science and Technology Day (18 May), the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics organized the symposium “Research by the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics for the benefit of national renovation” on 16 May 2014.

Participants in the symposium included leaders of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Finance, the press, and scientists from central and local research institutes.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Quoc Ly, and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Viet Thao - Vice Presidents of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Dr. Le Van Loi - the acting Head of the Department of Science Management jointly chaired the symposium.

The opening speech by Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Quoc Ly pointed out that the Party’s 11th Congress Resolution sent theoreticians an important task further clarifying socialism-related issues, the road to socialism in Vietnam and theoretical bases for policies by the Party and State during the renovation period and their implementation. The Party’s points of view must be fully expressed in research by HCMA and in its training of leadership and management personnel. The country’s ongoing renewal and international integration has posed quite a few questions that need to be studied or clarified including ownership, economic com-ponents, perfection of the socialist-oriented market mechanism, relationships between economic growth and social equality, economic and political renewal, growth pattern and growth quality, fast growth and sustainable development and between independence and international integration, solutions to preventing cor-ruption, wastefulness, bureaucratic red tape and degeneration among Party members, innovation of the Party’s leadership, building of a socialist law-ruled State, promotion of democracy within the Party and the entire society and formulation and implementation of mechanisms for social debate and super-vision. In order to answer these questions and others, the Academy needs to update itself with relevant information, apply the Party’s new point of view and keep a close watch on ongoing changes so it carries out its research. This is an enormous task requiring great effort from the researchers.

The speeches at the symposium focused on clarifying the role, position, function and task of the Academy when it came to research. They discussed thoroughly, the major research topics the Academy needed to deal with to contribute to innovation of theoretical thinking including clarification of the Party’s new guidelines, the State’s policies and laws, the revolutionary and scientific nature of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, and protection and promotion of creativity in the new situation. Many of the speeches pointed out limitations of such research and recommended solutions to improving the quality of the Academy’s research projects so they could be of service to the cause of national renovation.

1. The Academy’s research achievements of service to the cause of national renovation

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Quoc Ly pointed out that the Academy’s research had undergone marked changes over the past years. Every year, it carried out approximately 300 scientific tasks including research projects, conferences, surveys and development of training curricula. A good number of State, ministerial and institutional level research projects including large-scale ones assigned by the Secretariat of the Party or the Prime Minister had been carried out. Some of these projects include “Continuing innovating training curricula for leaders, managers, political theoreticians and administrators at HCMA”, “Clarifying some theoretical issues related to the renovation cause and socialist building in Vietnam,” “Policies on Khmer Theravada Buddhism to the year 2020 and vision for 2030” and “Ensuring human rights in Vietnam in its in-tensified international integration.”

The Academy’s research achie-vements have not only made a positive contribution to the improvement of the quality of its training of middle- and high-ranking leaders and managers of the Party, State and socio-political organizations, but have also served as suggestions for competent bodies of the Party and State to make policies for national development. Its research projects, employing new approaches, have provided more convincing explanation of some theoretical and practical issues relating to socialism and the road to it in Vietnam, the CPV’s mode of exercising power and leadership, distribution, coordination and control of power in the establishment of a socialist law-ruled Vietnam, the socialist-oriented market economy, social structure and the country’s cultural, foreign, and security and defense policies given its international integration. Its re-search findings have facilitated the protection and development of Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, guidelines, policies and laws of the Party and State and have uncovered hostile forces’ plots against the Vietnamese revolution. 

Many of the findings have become valuable reference information for leadership, managerial and policy-making bodies and an effective channel for the Academy to discuss or comment on guidelines or policies by the Party and State. Many of them have been taught at the Academy, universities or political schools throughout the country.

2. Limitations of the Academy’s research   

Most speeches at the sym-posium held at the Academy’s research was insufficient or limited. There was no research of significance and HCMA did not have leading experts in political studies. The Academy’s research mainly focused on explaining or commenting on the Party’s point views of or guidelines or illustrating existing issues rather than being original or coming up with new issues. Controversial issues had not been reasonably accounted for. The review of realities and application of research findings were not timely. The connection between research and application and between theory and practice remained weak.

Prof., Dr. Mach Quang Thang and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Doan Minh Huan and Tran Thi Minh Chau stated that the Academy’s research did not originate from real demands resulting in the findings to not be applied easily.

They recommended future research having a specific des-tination which would receive its findings so it could be practical and would not waste resources.

Presently, many institutes only conduct research after they have received funding, which is taking a heavy toll on their young researchers. Research funding is still granted on an “ask-give” mechanism. Some grants are provided based on the reputation or position of the applicant or are not publicized. As a result, young researchers have a small chance to win such grants. The Academy’s research technologies are outdated, so it has difficulties in bidding for large-scale research projects. HCMA has not been able to make use of the intelligence of retired scientists who have abundant experience in, and profound passion for, research.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Viet Thao did not think the Academy’s research was as strong as it used to be. Although the educational standards of its research staff were higher than before, their theoretical progress remained weak. The academy did not paid adequate attention to research into classic works. It produced its own training materials but did not compile formal books on Marxism - Leninism or Ho Chi Minh Thought. The Academy therefore needed to recommend the Politburo and Secretariat of the Party to compile and publish such books. A lot of the world’s reference materials were being used in Vietnam. However, theories by leftist movements were not studied even though many of them could be of use to the country.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Ho Trong Hoai observed that the Academy’s research had not been widely publicized. He recommended publishing doctoral theses with theoretical and practical significance as printed books. The Academy’s research had little impact on the psychology or thinking of Party officers or members. Topical events inside and outside of Vietnam were barely discussed on the mass media. There were few articles opposing hostile forces’ wrong points of view. There were only 20 articles of this type on the Communist Journal and Political Theory Journal in ten years, showing how weak the theoretical front was.

Dr. Bui Dinh Phuong advised against the use of administrative power to impose personal opinions. The Academy’s research into Party building, Party history, scientific socialism, Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought needed to be jointly carried out with other research bodies in country; otherwise, it would become very one-sided. The Academy needed to facilitate freedom in academic research and encourage new ideas.

3. Causes of the limitations

Most participants at the symposium stated that the gap between generations at HCMA had not been narrowed although it had paid attention to personnel planning and training. The Academy failed to identify the focus or importance of its research. Its research and training were not well balanced. It did not have a suitable mechanism for defending its researchers’ interests or giving them responsibilities. It did not know how to create motivation for its researchers. Its research methodologies remained limited and did not pay attention to quantitative research. Its research and management staff’s capabi-lities remained insufficient.

4. Lessons from, and issues with the Academy’s current research endeavors

Prof., Dr. Mach Quang Thang drew some lessons from the Academy’s research. Firstly, it needed to establish a correct relationship between its training and research. Secondly, it needed to become less reliant on external funding for its research. Thirdly, the research results needed to be applied at a specific destination. Fourthly, it needed to formulate a detailed plan for development of research. Finally, it needed to create strong and effective connection between its own research and that of relevant organizations.                         

He said that it was necessary to reform scientific and theoretical research organizations in Vietnam. The Academy needed to establish disciplines of research which were its strong points so it could concentrate resources on them. It also needed to innovate its management intensively so research could be more effective, make full use of social resources, particularly those from industries, provinces and foreign countries, and create motivation for its research staff so they could improve the quality of their work.

5. Orientations, tasks and solutions for better quality and efficiency of the academy’s research      

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Quoc Ly believed that for the Academy’s research and theoretical work to be really profound and practical, it needed to promote research into clarification of theoretical issues of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, theoretical and practical issues of socialism, Vietnam’s road to socialism and the ruling communist Party. Closer and more effective connection had to be established between research and communication organizations, central level agencies, ministries, industries, mass organizations, Party committees and authorities at various levels.

It was necessary to promote friendly and cooperative ties with theoretical, political or research bodies of communist, worker’s and ruling parties and progressive political organizations in the world in order to improve the quality of the Party’s theoretical and political studies and implement external communication strategies by the Party and State.

A democratic scientific atmosphere had to be created so scientists’ differing opinions could be heard, original ideas could be found and new interpretations of socialism and socio-economic development models in Vietnam could be made. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Van Huyen said that for the Academy to become “a leading scientific center of the nation”, it needed to pioneer fundamental research on social sciences and humanities, especially Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought. It needed to rally leading experts around such research. As the major research staff, such experts would have to report on their research and new scientific issues in their relevant areas in the world on an annual basis. They had to set up major research projects in their respective fields.

Researchers should be encouraged to be independent and creative and express their opinions supported by convincing reasons. Products, ideas or innovations of high scientific values had to be respected and highly appreciated. New ideas or research results opposite to political beliefs or unsuitable for current conditions should not be dismissed.

In order to overcome limitations of the Academy’s research, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Doan Minh Huan and Dr. Le Van Loi recommended overcoming poor implementation of scientific assignments by rede-signing them on a regular and annual basis. Instead of organizing separate projects, it was necessary to design those which aimed at some common objectives. Given limited budget funding, annual research projects had to be part of longer term ones and local and even ministerial level projects had to be constituents of larger scale ones.

Additionally, procedures for selecting research projects had to be renewed. Research objectives had to suit the Academy’s functions and tasks, follow the Party’s general agenda and meet industrial and provincial needs. The applicability of research results had to be improved. The Academy’s management had to innovate radically so as to inspire motivation and create a favorable environment for its research staff. The selection of research projects, distribution of funds and assignment of research tasks had to be carried out in a healthy competitive manner. Strong research groups including specialist and interdisciplinary ones had to be established. Training and research costs should be integrated. Students, especially those on master’s or doctoral programs, should be invited to participate in research at the Academy. Seminars should be organized between students and lecturers.

A certain proportion of the Academy’s annual research funds had to be given to development of its main research projects capable of solving pressing issues including defense of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, fight against “peaceful evolution” plots, development of new theories and making of interventionist policies. Given its scope, the Academy needed to produce a report every six months on specific topics, based on major ideas and prepared with modern reporting techniques. If necessary, it could hire international experts in modern reporting such as those from the UNDP or other international organizations. Such report had to influence three objectives, develop-ment of theories, policy interven-tion and institutional building.

Given limited budget funding for its research, the Academy needed to take advantage of other sources of funding through bidding State-level research projects and calling for funds from research foundations. It needed to establish cooperation in research with relevant agencies, ministries, industries and provinces in the country and international organizations.


MA. Le Minh Phuong

Political Theory Journal        

MA. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diep

Department of Science Management


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