VietNamNet Bridge – Two universities that were set up under a plan to build international standardised education institutions still have to temporarily rent infrastructure, an inspection has found.
National Assembly’s Committee of Culture, Education, Youth and Children has just finished an inspection of the NA’s resolutions about higher education.
Under the government’s plan to build excellent universities, the Ministry of Education and Training in co-ordination with the Ministries of Planning and Investment, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs and the State Bank of Vietnam submitted plans to build international standardised universities using government funding.
The World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would lend USD100-200 million each to finance the plans.
Under the plan, Vietnam-Germany University (VGU) was set up in March 2008 and Hanoi University of Science and Technology was established in 2009.
VGU was set up based on the cooperation between the governments of Vietnam and Germany. The university costs a total o VND3.72 trillion (USD177.43 million), including VND3.345 trillion (USD159.55 million) worth of foreign loans and the rest from domestic reciprocal capital. Construction was planned for the 2011-2017 period.
The university started the first school year in September 2008 with 25 students at university level.
To date, VGU has organised six enrolments with a total of 375 students. Training at the university is mainly provided by 80 teachers and professors from German university partners. It has also received support for management and training from 38 German universities under the VGU Association.
Hanoi University of Science and Technology was established based on a co-operation agreement between the Vietnamese and French governments. The Vietnam Institute of Science and Technology acted as local strategic partner while an alliance of over 60 French universities worked as foreign strategic partners.
The university was built on an area of over 60 hectares in Hoa Lac High-tech Park at a cost of USD210 million, including a USD190 million loan by the ADB. Construction would last from 2011 through 2017.
The university opened its first 2010-2011 school year and enrolled 20 university students for two sectors of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology as well 40 postgraduates for science, technology and environment. The number of students at the university increased to 171 in the 2011-2012 academic year.
However, construction of such universities has been stagnant, forcing them to temporarily hire infrastructure for operations including managing offices, classrooms, and labs.
The VGU project remains at the design consultancy and tendering stage.
Hanoi University of Science and Technology project is sluggish due to slow site clearance. The project’s managing board has yet to be handed over cleared site for the construction, hindering the process.
Meanwhile, the deadline for the ADB to decide whether to continue the project will be this month.
Prof. Dao Trong Thi, chairman of the committee, said the sluggish construction of the universities is a result of the incompetence of the projects’ management board which prevented them from hiring professional consultants.
The prolonged construction may lag the projects behind schedule and drive up material costs.
The universities are still being founded while financial resources are limited.
They are also finding it difficult to recruit well-trained teachers due to low pay.
The committee’s leaders have pointed out another challenge in hamonising the relationship between such universities with their foreign partners to ensure that these universities operate under their initial direction.
Such universities should be state schools that receive special attention by the government so as to provide standard training for students instead of becoming representative offices of foreign university partners in Vietnam providing more job opportunities for foreign teachers, they added.
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