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Provincial universities are in a dark period, struggling to exist

VietNamNet Bridge - While universities in large cities have been developing well, schools in provinces have not been able to enroll enough students.

VietNamNet Bridge - While universities in large cities have been developing well, schools in provinces have not been able to enroll enough students.


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Students prefer studying in large cities




Ten years ago, the HCMC University of Agriculture and Forestry was asked to open school branches in Gia Lai and Ninh Thuan provinces to help the two local junior colleges – Gia Lai Junior College and Ninh Thuan Pedagogical Junior College – upgrade into universities. It was expected that after the upgrading, the two schools will be given back to the local authorities to put under management.

However, as it is more and more difficult to enroll students, the two provinces are not eager to open universities anymore.

Huynh Thanh Hung, vice president of the HCMC University of Agriculture and Forestry, confirmed that the branches in Gia Lai and Ninh Thuan have been finding it difficult to enroll students for years.

Provincial universities, mostly established some years ago in the university-opening movement, are now in dark days. 

Though the two branches accepted students from all cities/provinces in the country for the 2018-2019 academic year with the low minimum exam score of 15, they still could not find enough students.

As such, the plan to train labor in localities needs reconsideration. The majority of high school graduates want to study at universities in large cities, rather than in their localities.

The school branch of the HCMC National University in Ben Tre province is facing the same situation.

Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the HCMC Center for Human Resources Forecasting and Labor Market Information, said that opening school branches in provinces is not a good idea, because students prefer studying in large cities and seeking job opportunities there.

Meanwhile, the opening of school branches in provinces will disperse resources of prestigious universities and waste investments.

Provincial universities, mostly established some years ago in the university-opening movement, are now in dark days. 

At that time, provincial authorities believed that the demand for tertiary education was very high. However, the schools have been short of students since establishment.

In 2018, Pham Van Dong University in Quang Ngai province planned to enroll 1,554 students, but it found less than 1,000.

Tran Dinh Tham, vice rector of the school, confirmed that the difficulties in enrolment have existed for many years, and that pedagogical training majors had seen the number of applications drop most dramatically. 

Phu Yen University is meeting the same problem as it implemented only 40 percent of the enrolment plan in 2018.

Since provincial universities cannot find enough students, authorities have to allocate tens of billion of dong to the schools each year to maintain their operation. Quang Ngai province, for example, had to allocate VND32 billion in 2017 and VND33 billion in 2018.


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