Dec 3, 2012

Vietnam - Overseas study consultancy service management needs iron hand

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VietNamNet Bridge – Overseas study consultancy firms have been mushrooming, while they do not have to pursue any regulations and do not bear the management of any state management agencies.

Who to claim for?

According to, Vietnam ranks eighth among the 10 countries which have the highest numbers of students studying abroad. Despite the efforts by domestic universities to join forces with foreign schools to provide international education right in Vietnam, students still prefer going abroad.

The increasingly high demand for studying abroad has led to the establishment of a lot of overseas study consultancy firms or centers throughout the country.

However, the firms have not been controlled by any state management agencies. As a result, a lot of students and their families have become the victims of the bad services or the fraud committed by the firms. Meanwhile, they have not been protected by the laws.

Hong Khanh, a parent in Tan Binh district in HCM City, said she signed a contract with V.E Company headquartered in Phu Nhuan district, under which V. E was in charge of following necessary procedures for Khanh’s daughter, so that the girl can obtain a visa and enroll in a school in the US.

The contract said Khanh had to pay 300 dollars to have the administrative formalities done within three months.

The firm then asked Khanh to pay 2500 dollars more for the procedures to obtain the visa. Later, Khanh was told to pay another 6000 dollars also for the visa. However, despite the big sum of money, Khanh’s daughter still could not get visa.

Khanh many times came to the head office of the firm to claim back the money she paid. However, after a lot of exertion, Khanh has just taken back a half of the sum of money she spent.

Who has the power?

The currently valid Decree No. 115 stipulates that local education departments are in charge of managing overseas study consultancy firms. However, it does not clearly stipulate the rights and the responsibilities of the departments.

The legal document only shows a general provision that the departments have the responsibility of assisting provincial people’s committees to undertake the state management over the organizations which provide the services of brining Vietnamese students abroad to study under the self-sufficient mode.

Therefore, no overseas study consultancy firm thinks that they have to submit operation reports to the local education departments, while the departments don’t have any information about the firms.

Under the current laws, local planning and investment departments have the function of licensing overseas study consultancy firms which, during their operation, have to bear the management of the local education departments.

Meanwhile, local departments, which don’t understand about their rights, many times asked to clarify the issue. However, the issue remains unclear.

In 2010, the HCM City Education and Training Department sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Education and Training to consult with the ministry on the draft regulation on the overseas study management in HCM City. However, the department was told to wait some more time, because the ministry itself was drafting a legal document on the issue.

However, the ministry did not say how much more time the city education department, students and their parents have to wait.


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