Dec 18, 2012

Vietnam - Joint stock universities proposed

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Vietnam’s state-owned university system is embarking on a plan to attract private enterprise investments through the development of a joint stock university model.

Deputy Minister of Finance Nguyen Thi Minh told VIR that the Vietnamese government would in the coming time allow the establishment of some pilot joint stock universities through the cooperation of state-owned universities and enterprises.

“We will give more investment incentives of land and taxes to investors. All existing investment incentives will be expanded to lure investors into such universities. A competitive tertiary education market will be created,” Minh said.

The initiative comes amid growing concerns about the quality of Vietnam’s higher education system and its ability to produce workers qualified for 21st century industries. In its Conclusion 51-KL/TW, the Vietnam Communist Party’s Central Committee called for a decisive overhaul of Vietnam’s tertiary education soon.

The committee said a radical and comprehensive renewal of the country’s tertiary education and training system was “an objective and imperative requirement” in order to lure local and foreign investments. At present, Vietnam’s tertiary education and training system was quite theoretical and “far from reality.”

A recent survey of 350 manufacturing and services firms in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City conducted by the World Bank in partnership with the Central Institute of Economic Management, one of Vietnam’s top think tanks, found that more than 66 per cent of foreign companies in Vietnam said the current Vietnamese workforce impeded production due to its lack of skills.

US-backed Honeywell Vietnam president Mai Trang Thanh said almost all graduates, especially engineers, recruited by Honeywell could not meet the group’s requirements: “Thus we have to retrain them in Singapore.”

The Ministry of Education and Training said that in line with the Vietnamese government’s strategy to put tertiary education and training under a comprehensive overhaul, there would be specific regulations for universities to join capital and cooperate with local and foreign enterprises, in a bid to churn out skilled labourers that could meet the market demand.

At present, under the government’s Decree 69/2008/ND-CP on incentive policies on socialisation of the activities in education and training, vocational training, health care, culture, sports and environment, education and training investors shall have to pay a preferential corporate income tax rate of only 10 per cent during their projects’ lifespan. Moreover, they are also exempted from paying land rentals.

“Improvements of the existing investment incentives will bring more profit to these investors,” Minh said. Vietnam currently has 188 universities comprising 138 public and 50 private ones.

Thanh Thu |

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