Mar 18, 2013

Vietnam - The non-state owned school rescue fails

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VietNamNet Bridge – The heads of the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) met the representatives from non-state owned schools on March 5 to discuss the solutions to rescue the schools from sinking. However, the efforts have failed.

No concrete agreement has been reached by the watchdog agency and the non-state owned schools’ association. The solutions suggested by the association have been rejected by the ministry, which said that the schools should not set up too easy requirements on students, which would lead to the low quality of graduates.

The non-state owned schools have immediately reacted to the decisions by MOET, emphasizing that they have the right to enroll students, set up curricular and take responsibility for their graduates’ qualification.

Non-state owned schools claim for their rights

Unable to enroll students, thus having pushed against the wall, non-state owned schools want to improve the situation by lowering the requirements on students in order to increase the supply.

The schools have suggested that MOET should either to remove the national university entrance exams and give schools the right to organize exams to enroll students themselves, or remove the floor mark scheme.

Under the current regulations, students must obtain the exam marks equal to the floor marks stipulated annually by MOET at minimum in order to be eligible for enrolling in any university in Vietnam. The scheme, as non-state owned schools think, makes the supply of students short.

The decision by MOET, which, in the name of the training quality, rejected the floor mark scheme removal, has been facing a strong opposition from non-state owned schools.

Dr. Dao Van Luong, President of the Saigon University of Technology, said the MOET’s argument is unreasonable. In principle, all the high school graduates can continue studying at the university education level.

Luong also said he does not think the qualification of graduates heavily depends on the input students’ quality. In principle, universities themselves have to take responsibility for their graduates’ quality, while it should not be the job of MOET.

Dr. Nguyen Van Phuc, President of the Mien Dong International School, said that non-state owned schools have been put at a disadvantage when their enrolment plan depends on the floor marks set up by MOET.

He said that the floor mark scheme would attract most students to state owned schools, while non-state owned schools would have no more students to enroll. The best solution, according to Phuc, is that non-state owned schools should be allowed to enroll students themselves, not depending on the national university entrance exams.

Meanwhile, the representative from another people-founded school agreed that it’d be better not to remove the floor mark scheme, but he said MOET should set up the floor marks in a reasonable way in order to ensure that both state owned and non-state owned schools have students to enroll.

He went on to say that the floor mark is just one factor that allows finding out the quality of the input students, while the lowering of the floor marks does not mean the lowering of the training quality.

Dr. Bui Tran Phuong, President of the Hoa Sen University, stressed that MOET needs to be sure that the University Education Law is respected, which means that schools have the autonomy in enrolling students.

The first people-founded school was established 20 years ago. To date, Vietnam has had 81 non-state owned universities and junior colleges.

Tien Phong

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