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Vietnam considers merging or dissolving universities

Vietnam once gave investors the green light to set up a series of universities in an effort to increase the number of students. But now it has to dissolve many of the schools to ensure training quality.

Vietnam is planning to restructure universities
Vietnam is planning to restructure universities

After a ‘university boom’ period, Vietnam now has 300 establishments that provide tertiary education.

According to Tu Quang Hien from the Thai Nguyen Agriculture & Forestry University, Vietnam rushed to establish universities to implement the plan on having 200 uni students for every 10,000 people. Local universities were established as local authorities all wanted to have them in their localities.

The massive establishment of schools has had negative consequences, including the lack of qualified lecturers and the low quality of students.

Previously, only 25-30 of the best students out of every 100 students passed exams to study at universities. Now, the figure is 70-80, and more than half have average or lower average learning capacity.

In order to have 200 university students per 10,000 people, Vietnam needs 1.9 million students. If noting that every student spends four years at university, the number of students enrolled every year would be 475,000.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, there were 867,000 students finishing general school each year and 600,000 of them wanted to continue studying at university.

Restructuring is a must

Experts have pointed out that the tertiary education quality is the most problematic in the education system, but it is the key which determines the quality of the nation’s workforce.

They said restructuring and re-organizing universities is a must to improve the operation efficiency.

According to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), in 2013-2017, the State spent VND1,120,355 billion on education and training, of which VND172,095 billion was spent on tertiary education.

To improve the tertiary education quality, MOF has requested the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) to merge or dissolve weak education establishments. The state would not have to spend money to maintain ineffective universities, including pedagogical schools.

MOET’s Minister Phung Xuan Nha confirmed that universities have low training capability and cannot enroll students. The schools will be forced to merge with others or be dissolved if they cannot get improve in two to five years.

According to Nguyen Van Minh, rector of the Hanoi University of Education, Vietnam now has 14 4-year pedagogical schools, but should reduce the number to 10 prestigious training establishments.