The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has released the draft circular regulating career guidance, job counseling and start-up support in educational establishments.
One of the most noteworthy features of the document is that career guidance may be implemented at primary education establishments and last throughout the four education levels.
Le Dong Phuong from the Vietnam Education Science Institute believes that career guidance and job counselling is a ‘long story’ which needs the involvement of many parties in society.
“Should I continue to study, teacher?” is the question that Phuong, who has spent many years studying tertiary education and vocational education, receives regularly. He questions whether career guidance at general schools can be implemented well to reach the goals.
There was once a subject called ‘career guidance’ at general schools. But later, career guidance became just an activity at school, which means that there were no more exams and assessments about students’ knowledge about this field.
This is a concern of Phuong, who believes that career guidance is very important.
|Surveys have found that family members and family conditions have serious influences on students’ career trends. Parents tend to tell their children to take ‘hot’ jobs that can bring big money instead of jobs which fit the children’s tastes and abilities.|
“Many 12th graders still don’t know what they will be. They just say they want to study the majors which bring a lot of money,” Phuong said, adding that it is necessary to introduce careers to students before it is too late.
“I believe that we should start giving career guidance at the primary education level,” he said.
“Why do primary school students only like a few occupations such as doctor, teacher or the ones of their parents? The reason is these are the occupations they first hear of,” he explained.
After conducting a survey of 1,700 students in 63 cities/provinces, Phuong realized that most students want to become policemen, military officers, doctors and teachers. Two percent of students said they wanted to become singers.
Phuong once travelled to An Giang province to give career guidance. He asked the students who live near rice fields and fish farming ponds “Why don’t you study veterinary or plant protection?”. The students replief: “Are these also called occupations?
He said this is a worrying problem. The list of occupations released by the General Statistics Office names more than 900, but many occupations are unknown to students.
Phuong believes that it would be better to introduce occupations to students at the primary education level.
“I know many students fail to apply to universities even though they get a 27 out of 30 score at high school finals. This is because students do not receive adequate consultancy,” he said.
He went on to say that many students enter universities, but leave the school later because they lack adequate knowledge about careers. After a period of study, they realize that the learning fields they were following did not fit them.
The wrong decisions in choosing careers causes a big waste of time and money for society and students.
Surveys have found that family members and family conditions have serious influences on students’ career trends. Parents tend to tell their children to take ‘hot’ jobs that can bring big money instead of jobs which fit the children’s tastes and abilities.
The local socio-economic trends also affect students’ decisions.
Phuong, while visiting a school in Lao Cai province in the north, was surprised that 20 percent of students wanted to study Chinese language, and 20 percent wanted to study medicine.
The headmaster of the school told him that many students want to become doctors and nurseries because the provincial authorities were going to open a general hospital there. They wanted to study Chinese because they planned to go to China as guest workers.
“This is really a sad fact. It is necessary to help students formulate the idea of choosing careers from an early age instead of letting them choose jobs at random,” he said.
In developed countries such as France, Germany and the UK, students can become familiar with many occupations. They go to farms and production facilities in the community several times a year.
In Vietnam, many schools have begun applying this career guidance model by organizing trips for students. However, according to Phuong, instead of bringing to students to places where they can experience real labor, some schools have organized trips to resorts or entertainment complexes.
Vietnam is facing a brain drain: elite intellectuals trained abroad do not return, while some in Vietnam seek opportunities to work abroad.
In HCM City, 15-20 per cent of primary school students have not been able to learn online, according to a report by the Department of Education and Training.