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Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics to uphold its 65-year tradition and innovate to meet Party’s requirements in new period

(LLCT) - The 65th anniversary of the Academy is an occasion for its entire staff to look back on their careers and pay their gratitude to their predecessors who laid foundations for its traditions. This is also an opportunity for them to think about the fine values of the Academy and to express their determination to promote such values in the time to come. It is hoped and believed that the Academy, given the sense of respon-sibility and effort among its staff, will make even more significant contribu-tions to the cause of making Vietnam a more prosperous and happier country.

(Prof., Dr. Ta Ngoc Tan, Member of the Central Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, President of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics)

1. The glorious 65-year history of the Central Party School

The Nguyen Ai Quoc Central Party School, predecessor of the modern day Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA), was founded and ran its first training course sixty-five years ago in the Northern base. That was when the country’s French resistance led by the Party won initial victories and began to counter-attack. In order to prepare personnel for a new revolutionary period, the 6th Central Personnel Conference in January 1949 set the task, “To increase party members’ political and theoretical standards... All party members must grasp the Party’s guidelines and policies; they must learn theories, strategies and military tactics and acquire common knowledge of administration. As soon as a person becomes a member of the Party, he or she must be trained in such ways”. On learning methods, the Conference pointed out that party cells and party members themselves needed to do self-studies and the Party would open party schools at various levels. “Party schools must be founded immediately and continuously. There must be differentiation between central, regional and provincial schools”(1).

As President Ho Chi Minh considered personnel training to be one of the central tasks of the Party, he attended the Opening ceremony of the 2nd course of the school in September 1949 in Binh Thanh commune, Dinh Hoa district, Thai Nguyen province. He wrote in the school’s memorial book, “Learn to work, to have good manners, and to become a party officer. Learn to serve your organization, your class, your people, your homeland and humankind. In order to fulfill your objectives, you must be hardworking, thrifty, upright, public-spirited and unbiased”(2).      

Many of the Party or State leaders used to be directors of the Central Party School. Truong Chinh and Le Duc Tho served two tenures each, 1956 - 1957 and 1961 - 1966, and 1957 - 1960 and 1967 -1968 respectively. Other directors included Le Van Luong and To Huu. Most of high-ranking leaders in subsequent periods were students of the School. Party’s and State’s leaders including general secretaries of the Party, however busy they were with important national affairs, paid visits to the School and delivered talks or lectures there.

The school took different names, Central Nguyen Ai Quoc School, Nguyen Ai Quoc Advanced Party School, Nguyen Ai Quoc Academy of Social Sciences, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Administration. Its current name is Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics. The nature of the school does not change no matter what name it is. It is a school which provides training for leaders and managers of the CPV and the entire Vietnamese political system. In 1993, the Academy took over regional party schools and Communication colleges which used to belong to the Central Secretariat. Nowadays, HCMA is a system of party schools consisting of one central Academy and five affiliates in different regions of the country meeting different training needs.

Over the past 65 years, the Academy has trained hundreds of thousands of medium - and high-level leaders or managers for different sectors and provinces as well as a good number of theoreticians for the Party. The scope of training has multiplied and forms of training have diversified compared to those in its early days. Between 2009 and 2014, it has trained 90,000 students in different classes and forms. Those who graduated from the Academy served as the driving force behind the victories of the country’s past national liberation and unification wars and have made a personal contribution to the national safeguard, construction and modernization over the last three decades.

Before the 1970s, the school only provided advanced courses in political studies. Later, it began to provide in-service and doctoral courses. In the 1980s, it granted the first formal doctoral degrees. The number of its postgraduate courses is increasing. Its masters’ student and doctoral candidate population amounts to between 1,200 and 1,300 annually on average. Hundreds of doctoral degrees have been awarded over the past three decades. These doctors constitute the core research and teaching staff of research institutes, academies, universities, political schools and media and communication agencies of CPV.

In the 1980s, the school was tasked with training high-ranking officials for Laotian and Cambodian communist parties. Every year it opens training courses

for Laotian leaders, managers and theoreticians from. In 2010, for the first time it provided training courses for central and provincial level leaders of Mozambique. By providing training for foreign communist parties, the school has made an important contribution to strengthening the relationship between the CPV and Vietnamese people and the other parties and countries.

In addition to training, the Academy has made a significant contribution to the research into Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought and their promotion and education. It has compiled books about the history of the CPV and biographies of leaders of the Party. With its research projects summarized the national building practices, the Academy has made significant contribution to strengthening the Party’s theoretical work and has come up with recommendations for the development and perfection of the Party’s guidelines and policies. It contributed ideas about economic restructuring and management in the 1980s. In the 1990s, it confirmed that Ho Chi Minh Thought was one of the spiritual foundations of the party. It conducted research into theoretical and practical issues of the 20 years of modernization before the 10th Congress of the Party. As a national center for political sciences, the Academy is the first in the country to explore and develop new research areas such as human rights and politics and a pioneer in leadership and management sciences.

Since the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, wrong ideas have sprung up among part of officers, party members and the public. Given the complicated world developments and social mentality, HCMA remains an ideological and theoretical stronghold of the Party. It has been active in refuting such ideas and defending Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought, the Party, socialism and the country’s revolutionary achievements.

Like other organizations, HCMA has its ups and downs. Nevertheless, its staff has always been united and has given top priority to the interests of the Party and country. They have abided by the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws. They have worked hard to establish a progressive and exemplary pedagogic atmosphere in the Academy. Different generations of its staff have become role models as party members, staff or lecturers. Many of them have been awarded the People’s Teacher or Teacher of Excellence titles by the State.

With its continuous contributions to political training and theoretical research, the Academy has been awarded the Golden Star Medal, two Ho Chi Minh Medals and Labor Hero title by the Party and State. Its affiliates have also received prestigious prizes from the Party and State.

2. Upholding the 65-year tradition and building the Academy into an ever stronger institution 

The Academy’s achievements over the last 65 years are enormous. However, given the Party’s expectations of the Academy and for the sake of the truth, it must be admitted that HCMA still has a few limitations or weaknesses.

First of all, the quality of its training courses has yet to meet a very high standard. The Academy is partly to blame for failing to train leaders and managers who are politically, professionally or morally able enough to meet the increasingly high demands of national modernization. Its syllabuses and teaching methodologies are not innovative and have not caught up with regional and international standards.

Over the past years, the Academy’s scientific research has yet to equal its importance. There has been no research that makes a significant contribution to the Party’s development of theories or country’s formulation of policies, especially given the current intensified national industrialization and modernization.

Although the Academy’s physical infrastructure has been recently upgraded, it is not comfortable or modern enough to match its status as the highest level political school of the Party and State. The application of advanced technologies to the administration and management of such a large training establishment remains limited.

The Academy’s teaching and research staff is many and most of them hold senior academic titles. At present, of the 2,300 employees of the Academy, there are eight professors, 134 associate professors and 310 doctors. However, the number of reputed leading experts in their research lines is small. Many of its researchers or lecturers lack practical knowledge or leadership or managerial experience. Some of them are even underqualified or are not equipped with modern teaching methodologies. Such limitations have affected the quality of the Academy’s training and scientific research.

After 30 years carrying out the renovation policy initiated by the Party, the country has gained historic achievements. From a poor country, it has become a middle income country rapidly catching up with the rest of the world. Given the ongoing globalization, sweeping scientific and technological revolution and complex regional and international relations, the country has a lot of opportunities, yet is faced with challenges. Therefore, the Party’s personnel work including the Academy’s training needs to reach a new height.

The Academy is expected to make a more important contribution to the Party’s revolutionary cause by fulfilling its fundamental task of training leaders and managers for the country especially in this new era. It also needs to promote its research so as to contribute to the Party’s ideological and theoretical work, thereby helping to innovate or perfect the Party’s and State’s guidelines and policies.

In light of Conclusion 119-TB/TW of Politburo dated on 16 January 2013 reflecting on the implementation of the 9th Politburo’s Resolution 52-NQ/TW on improving the quality of the Academy’s training and scientific research, Decision 224-QĐ/TW of 6 January 2014 by the Politburo and Decree 48/2014/NĐ-CP by the Government on the apparatus and personnel of the Academy serve as official instructions as to its operation in the time to come.

Seriously following instructions by the Party’s Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat and upholding the 65-year tradition of the Academy, its entire staffs including administration, researchers and lecturers have agreed to carry out the following tasks:

First, from this academic year, the Academy will introduce new curricula and syllabi for all of its courses, which were carefully designed by the 1677 Project to keep up with the latest knowledge and experience, connect theory with realities of the country and the times and suit different learner’s needs.

While ensuring fundamental political training, HCMA will focus more on the training or fostering of planned personnel and those in medium - and high-level leadership and managerial positions. The Academy will prioritize formal full-time training courses and reduce the number of part-time ones. It will try and introduce new subjects into its curriculum in order to meet demands for national construction and development.

The management of the Academy will be innovated in order to meet the need of training personnel with leadership, management and professional abilities, political and moral standards and a sense of creative thinking and responsibility for the country and people. By assessing its students the process of learning and training, the Academy will serve as one of the recruiters of leadership and managerial personnel for the Party and State.    

Second, while sticking to the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws and given the country’s and world’s situations, the Academy will promote scientific research among its students in order to, first and foremost, raise the quality of its training and, at the same time, contribute to the Party’s theoretical work, help to develop or perfect the Party’s and State’s guidelines and policies, fight against wrong or hostile points of view and defend Marxism - Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought and the Party. Key areas of research will include the validity of Marxism - Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought, history of the CPV, socialism and the road to socialism in Vietnam, establishment of socialist democracy and rule of law, national solidarity and the relationship between political and economic transform. In addition, the Academy will need to carry out research into newly arising issues and take part in reflective research so as to make a significant contribution to formulation of the Party’s guidelines and the country’s socio-economic development policies.

Third, to fulfill the above-mentioned important tasks requires the Academy of a leadership and staff with unshakeable political convictions, research and teaching skills, rich personal and professional experience and high moral standards normally found in lecturers or communists. It must ensure a stable number, reasonable structure of its staff and pursue succession planning. The Academy will try to become one of the institutions which follow the most closely the Party’s instructions, guidelines or measures concerning personnel work in development of their own personnel. Its personnel work must be transformed in all aspects including recruitment, employment and discovery of people who are talented, committed to its cause and willing to accept hardship during their learning and training and to work under most difficult circumstances, and training them so they can maximize their abilities. By carrying out research, giving lectures and engaging in social occasions, young staff must be trained into future leaders, managers or researchers of the Academy. Staff must be evaluated based on their performance and credibility. They must carry out long-term assignments in provinces or be transferred between institutions to receive continuous training. Rewards and party, trade union and other mass organization activities must all aim to strengthen the Academy’s staff and help them meet its future requirements.

Fourthly, in order to raise the quality of its training and research, the Academy needs to continue to upgrade its physical and technical infrastructure including classrooms, meeting halls, dormitories, libraries, dining halls and sports facilities. In addition, it needs to improve its administrative and managerial levels so it can become more formal, modern and professional.

Finally, HCMA  needs to promote international cooperation so as to improve the quality of its training and scientific research, increase the capacity of its research and teaching staff and contribute to strengthening the solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding between the CPV and communist, ruling and leftist parties in the world. In addition to the existing forms of cooperation, the Academy will invite well-known professors, politicians, diplomats and business people to talk to its training courses in order to promote its international reputation.

The 65th anniversary of the Academy is an occasion for its entire staff to look back on their careers and pay their gratitude to their predecessors who laid foundations for its traditions. This is also an opportunity for them to think about the fine values of the Academy and to express their determination to promote such values in the time to come. It is hoped and believed that the Academy, given the sense of respon-sibility and effort among its staff, will make even more significant contribu-tions to the cause of making Vietnam a more prosperous and happier country.


Prof., Dr. Ta Ngoc Tan

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