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Spending money training high-quality workforce, Vietnam’s Da Nang sees inadequacies

With the target of having high-quality managerial officials and experts to work at local agencies, Da Nang authorities launched Project 922 in 2004.

Spending money training high-quality workforce, Vietnam’s Da Nang sees inadequacies
Spending money training high-quality workforce, Vietnam’s Da Nang sees inadequacies

Their mission is to enroll select candidates in undergraduate and graduate training in Vietnam and other countries; while sponsoring studies by overseas students, master’s and doctorate degree learners so that they will work for the city upon graduation.

Each year, 75 candidates will be chosen to study at reputable and quality higher education institutions, according to the project.

Successful applicants have to promise in writing to come back and work for Da Nang for five years, if they have studied in Vietnam, or seven years, if they have finished their training overseas, upon graduation.

However, creating jobs for this skilled workforce turns out to be a headache for Da Nang officials.

According to the Da Nang Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development, 620 people have received scholarships from the project in the last decade.

Statistics show that 359 learners graduated, 310 of whom landed jobs at local government agencies.

Four are waiting for a job while 45 broke their promise and did not come back after their graduation.

Jobless talents

Tran Thi Ngoc Linh, a Project 922 scholar, earned a university degree in biotechnology, then continuing to study for a master’s in technology and medical science in France.

In October 2014, she came back to Vietnam and received a decision sending her to work for the Da Nang Department of Health in the middle of June 2015.

However, until June this year, she had not been assigned any specific job at any office under the department.

Linh then sent an email to Huynh Duc Tho, chairman of the People’s Committee, reporting that leaders of the health department replied they had not received any decision on her assignment after she contacted them for a job.

After that, she found a job at Da Nang Hospital after the committee required the health department to give an explanation.

Pham Hung Chien, former director of the health department, explained at that time, his agency assigned Linh to work at the Preventive Medicine Center.

However, the center turned Linh down, saying she had to have further training in biology and they had no managerial position for her as requested.

“After studying, I was excited to contribute to the city but I ended up being jobless for months,” Linh complained. “It hurt my faith and self-respect.”

In April, the city also assigned two other Project 922 scholars to work at the health department but all divisions under it rejected them, saying that their majors are unsuitable.

Then the two had to wait for a long time before being accepted by Da Nang Hospital and the Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children.

An issue that has been identified is that Project 922 training majors have not met the workforce demand of the city, as the Da Nang Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development has also reported that its targeted number of scholars does not match the real demand now and in the future.

The project only chooses the best 12th graders to give them scholarships without considering the demand of local agencies in order to ensure jobs for them after they graduate.

Although the number of scholars majoring in medical science is 217, reaching 23.6 percent, which is the highest rate, they did not study in disciplines related to in-demand jobs like doctors or physicians.

There is an excess number of graduates in education, social studies, economics, and law – administration – management, however.

Talents in court

While some scholars have to wait for their job, others have been sued since they did not work at the designated locality as committed before.

In June, the Da Nang Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development took Ha Thanh An to court with a view to recovering the funds the city had provided for her studies.

Under the project, An received a scholarship to study English teaching at the College of Foreign Language Studies under the University of Da Nang from 2004 to 2008, and to study for a master’s degree at the University of Bristol in the UK in 2010-11 later.

According to the contract she signed before accepting the scholarship, An has to work for Da Nang for at least 14 years after graduation.

However, she reneged on her commitment by quitting her job at the Department of Foreign Affairs after three years of working there and leaving Vietnam.

The Da Nang People’ Court recently required that An pay an amount which is double the money she had received from the city for her studies.

The center also said that it has sued 16 other scholars, including those who do not return after studying and those whose academic results do not meet the project’s requirements.