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Huge gap remains between university curricula, real job requirements

A huge gap exists between curricula taught at universities and job requirements of enterprises, a university lecturer said at a workshop on cooperation between companies and universities, held in HCM City on September 14.

Young people seek information at a job fair in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in HCM City
Young people seek information at a job fair in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park in HCM City

Dr Nguyen Toan, Director of the Centre for Business Cooperation and Student Employment at the HCM City University of Technology, said: “We must answer a long-time question: What is the real employment demand and requirements from enterprises?”

“Most of the new graduates are not qualified due to a lack of skills and experience,” Toan said.

“A good attitude is key to success, and most new graduates are not aware of this,” he noted.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Dr Pham Hai Dinh, vice dean of Dong An High Technology College in Binh Duong province, told : “One of the challenges faced by enterprises in recruitment is that universities focus a lot on academic knowledge, while enterprises need skills and competence.”

“Universities and enterprises should cooperate and develop an internship programme to provide students with hands-on, practical experience, which will benefit students and enterprises,” he said.

He said enterprises were not sufficiently interested in developing connections with universities in recruitment or investing in scientific research.

In more developed countries, the connection between enterprises and universities is more strategic.

“Enterprises and the university should participate in the development of postgraduate programmes, internships, and long-term research complexes to achieve technological breakthroughs.”

The university should also have a more stable source of funding for teaching and scientific research, and the opportunity to publish research results that are groundbreaking and highly applicable.

He said that enterprises should set long-term cooperation goals, and invest in graduate students and interns.

Pham Thi Thuy Hien, senior manager of human resources at First Solar Vietnam Manufacturing Co. Ltd, said most graduates were not aware of labour law regulations, while enterprises lacked information about students’ job expectations.

“Enterprises also expect the university to provide effective soft-skill training to students, emphasising appropriate manners not only at the university, but also in enterprises, since behavioural culture in the corporate environment is different from the university,” she said.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, vice dean of HCM City College of Economics, said the college planned to renew training programmes and maintain long-term cooperation with enterprises.

She said that effective training programmes, creating conditions for students to visit companies and complete internships, were needed.

“The link between enterprises and universities is often short term, only addressing demand-side issues and tending to connect through research contracts, consultancy and technology transfer agreements,” she said.

One of the students attending the workshop, Nguyen Le Hong Tham, a second-year student at the HCM City College of Economics,said : “My major is in economics and trade. I’m interested in information related to the demands and requirements of enterprises so I can better prepare for my job upon graduation.”

At the meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in training, human resources and internship was signed between the Job and Enterprise Supporting Service Centre (JESC), universities and enterprises.

The workshop aimed to promote cooperation between universities and enterprises in research and technology transfer, creative new ideas, and human resources.