The article discusses the problems faced by Vietnam in its higher-education system. Nguyen Phuong Thao, a literature major at Vietnam National University at Hanoi, is still required to spend several weeks of every year on the campus's mock battlefield, staggering under the weight of a Soviet-era rifle and crawling through the dirt, tossing fake grenades. Vietnam's higher-education system is in a time warp. Economists point to the fact that the country does not have a single university considered to be of international quality. As a developing nation, Vietnam faces the same problems in its higher-education system that vex other countries in Southeast Asia, low teaching salaries, rote learning, ill-equipped and crowded classrooms. Students and parents are increasingly frustrated. Tuition at public universities is cheap, but buys little. A degree is still considered a necessity, but it no longer guarantees a good job after graduation. Cheating, practically unheard of 10 years ago, is rampant today. Students routinely pay professors for passing grades. INSET: Harvard Teaches Capitalism to Communists.
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