There is no denying the fact that a nation needs high quality human resources to develop its economy. However, it is no easy task to discover, cultivate and tap talents effectively.

Like many other developing countries, Vietnam aspires to high quality human resources to carry out its national industrialisation and modernisation strategy. Many incentive policies for talented people have been introduced, but they are not clear enough to attract intellectuals living inside and outside the country.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, who had frank talks with intellectuals and young people, shed light on the development of high quality human resources in Vietnam, and solutions for retaining talented people in an exclusive interview with VOV online.

Following are excerpts from the interview.

Undoubtedly high quality human resources play an important role in the development of a nation. As an experienced leader, what do you think of human resources of Vietnam at the moment?

Humankind, even a nation, needs high quality human resources if it wants to develop strongly and sustainably. Our predecessors have considered high quality human resources as top talents of the nation, in other words they not only have a wealth of talents but standards of personal morality as well.

Just after Vietnam wrestled back its independence in 1945, President Ho Chi Minh focused on seeking and promoting talented people. He sent a letter to localities across the country asking them to find talents to contribute to national development.

After the success of the August Revolution in 1945 and beyond, the State apparatus was formed by many revolutionaries and intellectuals who made extraordinary contributions to the nation. These personalities included Governor General PhanKeToai, late Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Huyen, late Minister of Health Hoang Tich Tri, late Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoang Minh Giam, and late Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development NghiemXuanYem. Particularly President Ho assigned revolutionaries and intellectuals to negotiations with French colonialists.

Vietnam is currently undertaking a task of turning it into an industrial nation and, therefore it is in dire need of talents. The fact is that Vietnam has many talents but their contributions to the nation remain modest. By and large, the quality of our human resources is rather poor in comparison with that in several regional countries and elsewhere in the world.

The General Statistics Office of Vietnam has reported that the country’s labour productivity lags behind its ASEAN neighbours (18 times lower than Singapore’s, six times lower than Malaysia’s and three times lower than Thailand’s).

The assessment of labour productivity is based on the expertise and professional ethics in many different fields. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), these Vietnamese criteria are rather poor, resulting in its low labour productivity compared to regional countries.

Administrative management in Vietnam is a case in point. A number of officials and staff are not qualified enough to handle daily affairs, not to mention some who fail to satisfy petitioners thoroughly.

Vietnam has a large number of holders of PhDs in science and technology, yet they have not made big contributions to socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, Singapore, a regional neighbour, deals with administrative problems in a highly professional way. Its administrative sector has competent staff who have good qualities and fully devote themselves to work. Such a burgeoning economy is always supported by policies for talented people living inside and outside the island nation alike.

You have held talks with intellectuals, especially young intellectuals. What do you discover behind their youthfulness?

In whatever circumstances the vitality of the nation is decided by young generations. During past wars of resistance against foreign invaders, young people made big contributions to our victories. They also served as a vanguard force in production and business development.

Unlike predecessors, present-day young generations are equipped with a wealth of knowledge and expertise backed by the development of information and communications technology. They frankly show their points of view and aspirations for the country’s important issues.

I am totally impressed by their enthusiasm, ambitions and aspirations which are evidenced by their respect for national personalities like legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap. Hearing the news that General Giap passed away, tens of thousands of young people, despite bad weather, lined streets leading to his house to pay last respects for the beloved hero.

China’s illegal placement of its oil drilling rig HaiyangShiyou 981 within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf instilled national patriotism in Vietnamese people of all social strata, including young people.

Which solutions you think are effective for discovering and nurturing talented people?

The Party and State have introduced a number of incentive policies aimed at attracting talented people, including those living overseas. However, these policies are inconsistent and unclear to some extent. Many solutions have been introduced, but have not been materialised in reality.

Many intellectuals overseas have difficulty in purchasing house and dealing with cumbersome administrative procedures in Vietnam. Their presence and role in State organisations or businesses even arouses extreme envy among employees.

To attract talented people, a nation has no choice but to timely discover, use and promote their abilities, as well as giving them preferential treatment.

Bringing into full play their abilities is the most important thing. But in fact many of talented people say they are not put in the right place or they still find it difficult to get a good job. They expect the State will have a mechanism for using human resources objectively and fairly rather than current preferences.

In my opinion, an effective remedy for attracting talented people is that we should revise policies on using high quality human resources so that they feel they put their feet in the right place. Only then can high quality human resources not be wasted and fallen into others’ hands.