Oct 14, 2012

Vietnam - Foreign schools to be restricted

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VietNamNet Bridge – Foreign-invested schools will be restricted in the number of Vietnamese students they can enrol, under a new law to take effect next month.

The new Government decree limits local students at foreign-invested schools to a maximum of 20 per cent. Decree No. 73 on regulating foreign educational institutions will take effect in the middle of next month.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the new decree was necessary to update regulations and improve management of co-operative activities in education by the State. It also followed a number of violations at foreign-invested institutions.

The new decree defines the types and criteria for educational affiliation programs and foreign-invested educational institutions.

Specifically, affiliation programs that are five years in length must include content developed by both sides, that being the Vietnamese institutions and their foreign. These programs can issue Vietnamese or foreign degrees.

However, the quality of all these programs must be appraised or verified by relevant foreign agencies.

Regarding foreign-invested educational institutions which have a licence to operate for a maximum of fifty years, these will include training courses offering short courses, kindergartens, primary, secondary and high schools, vocational training centres and higher-education institutes.

In case these institutions wish to extend the duration of their operations, they have to get Government approval, but their extension cannot exceed 20 years.

In contrast to the current regulation, this decree regulates that foreign-invested kindergartens with foreign programs are only for foreign children. Vietnamese children under five years of age are banned from foreign educational programs.

Meanwhile, foreign-invested schools at primary and secondary levels are allowed to recruit Vietnamese students, but no more than 10 per cent of the total number of students and at high schools this maximum is at 20 per cent. These schools contain foreign educational programs and issue foreign licenses.

The tougher restrictions make it more difficult for foreign-invested schools to make a profit.

The regulation signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung follow violations by some institutions in Viet Nam that were operating in co-operation with foreign partners.

The Ministry of Education and Training found in June that seven educational institutions in co-operation with Australian and French schools were illegally offering courses or granting degrees without authorisation. Earlier, the ERC Institute Viet Nam, Raffles International College and ILA Viet Nam were ordered to cease operations due to educational violations.

Also according to a recent report by the Government Inspectorate, it was found that nearly 120 education affiliation programs with 94 foreign partners at 18 domestic universities were offering courses that violated content rules related to courses and quality of foreign institutions.

Thousands of students have been affected by these violations.

The new decree also regulates some other criteria related to capital, rankings, rights and tasks of foreign institutions who want to co-operate in the education sector in Viet Nam.


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