VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam’s university education still cannot integrate fully into the world because Vietnamese still do not have the foreign language skills and a good enough reasonable management mechanism.
The barriers on the way of getting integrated into the world
Vietnam’s university education system has been developing very rapidly in the last few years. In 2001-2011, the number of university students increased steadily by 9 percent. On average, eight universities (4-5-6-year training) and 12 junior colleges (3-year training) were established every year. Meanwhile, the ratio of students on 10,000 people increased from 162 in 2001 to 251 in 2011.
However, Vietnam’s university education still has not fully integrated into the world. Prof Martin Hayden from the Southern Cross University in Australia, thinks that Vietnam is now at the moment that requires a basic reform.
State owned school need higher autonomy, tuitions need to be raised, the funding for research works needs to be competitive, poor students need to be given more opportunities, while there should be an independent agency to accredit training quality.
Dr Luu Tien Hiep from UPC Sydney in Vietnam believes that the bad English skill remains the biggest barrier in the process of Vietnam integrating into the world. Most of the leaders of universities cannot communicate in English. Vietnam has economically integrated into the world for the last 20 years, but the new generation of leaders who can speak English fluently still has not been generated.
Meanwhile, Dao Van Khanh, Pham Thi Ly and Nguyen Van Tuan, in their joint research work, have pointed out that Vietnam lacks a reasonable mechanism, which has blocked its integration way.
The lack of a reasonable management mechanism has led to lack of talented scientists. Meanwhile, universities cannot develop the teaching and researching in a harmonization, and scientists feel discouraged because the funding for scientific research works cannot be allocated in a reasonable way.
Management mechanism blamed
Prof Martin Hayden from Southern Cross University has warned that the expansion of Vietnam’s university education would require a huge sum of money. The average expenses for every university student would have to increase by 3-4 folds by 2015 if compared with 2007, and by 5-6 times by 2019.
Since the state’s investment to develop the university education system is limited, raising the tuitions to ensure the high training quality proves to be the only choice for Vietnam.
The State has committed to maintain the tuition exemption and reduction for poor students and ethnic minority people. However, despite the initiative, the inequality in accessing university education remains a problem.
In 2009, one fifth of Vietnamese poorest families spent 70 percent of their family incomes on their children’s university study, while 1/5 of the richest families only spent 29.6 percent.
Trinh Tien Dung from UNDP Vietnam noted that the policy impacts of the budget spending on university education at the macro level remains limited.
The State has encouraged the “education socialization,” but the policy has been following a wrong track, which has led to the sharp rise of the number of students at state owned schools and the reduction of the budget funding for every student.
Meanwhile, Prof Nguyen Van Tuan from New South Wales University, citing the official statistics, pointed out that Vietnam has been lagging far behind other countries in terms of scientific research.
In 1970-2011, Vietnam made public 10,745 scientific articles on international journals, which was just equal to 22 percent of Thailand’s, 11 percent of Singapore’s and 27 percent of Malaysia’s.
Eleven South East Asian universities have been listed among the world’s top 400 universities, but the sum does not include any Vietnamese school.
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