Make Thing

make thing

I have many connections with Hanoi University of Science and Technology. My parents were first-year students. My wife has been a lecturer from the time she started working until she retired.

Many of my colleagues at Fsoft are former students and lecturers of Hanoi University of Science and Technology. Therefore, I always pay attention to and fully support anything related to the university.

Recently, I couldn’t help but notice the case of high school valedictorians failing to get into Hanoi University of Science and Technology. It’s indeed unusual. Two students with a total score of 29.35 (9.6 in Math) still failed to get into their first choice program, IT1 or Computer Science, at the School of Information and Communication Technology (SoICT) under Hanoi University of Science and Technology. The principal of SoICT explained clearly: a score of 9.6 in Math is not good enough. 10 is hard. And getting into Hanoi University of Science and Technology means doing hard work.

The reputation of Hanoi University of Science and Technology is once again making waves. Many people who heard about it were shocked. But even those who criticized this “abnormal” phenomenon were envious of the quality of students entering Hanoi University of Science and Technology: “Wow, with such good students, any teaching method would lead to success”. Building a high-quality university that is attractive enough to retain talent is indeed a difficult task.

But I still have doubts. Hanoi University of Science and Technology is the flagship of Vietnamese higher education and also the first technical university established and operated by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The brand name of Hanoi University of Science and Technology engineers is famous not only for academic excellence but also for practical skills. The CTO of a famous American company once told me: Studying engineering is learning how to “make things” – that is, produce products.

My mother, when she entered as a first-year student, even had to study six months intensively to reach high school level. Yet when she retired from teaching and went to Saigon to take over part of the Textile Institute in 1981, she rolled up her sleeves with her colleagues to produce the first silk products, enough to feed the staff and transfer technology to factories. When I first learned programming, everyone knew about BKED by teacher Quach Tuan Ngoc. In the Internet era, everyone used BKAV by Nguyen Tu Quang. Former students of Hanoi University of Science and Technology were behind many industrial projects in the North in the past and throughout the country later.

But it seems that all that is in the past. Our country now seems to have only farmers who are still diligently “making things”. Vietnam has a high probability of becoming a country that doesn’t know how to produce, having to sit back and enjoy the products of the world.

So I have a dream that if Hanoi University of Science and Technology truly believes that it is a place for hard work, it should boldly abandon the difficult but still easy task of recruiting based on sky-high scores, in order to recruit students who truly have the ability to produce complete products, no matter how small. This is probably a very difficult task.

I don’t know what kind of test would be appropriate to assess students’ ability to “make things” or what kind of curriculum would be needed to teach “making things” at university level. But recently, a group of former students from Hanoi University of Science and Technology’s Electrical – Electronics Engineering department, who are “making a lot of things”, have collaborated with an online university program to introduce a new curriculum that optimizes what they learned at Hanoi University of Science and Technology, with a commitment that students following this program must be able to “make things” from their first lessons.

I believe that it is these generations of graduates who know how to apply what they learned to produce useful products who are the strength and motivation for Hanoi University of Science and Technology to step up, take on difficult tasks, and train generations who will contribute to promoting Vietnam’s manufacturing industry.

Looking broadly, if more schools dare to innovate their recruitment criteria and teaching methods, Vietnamese higher education will have an opportunity to escape from the race for high scores.

Nguyễn Thành Nam

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Make Thing

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