A bachelor's degree is no longer a must

Going to a vocational school was long deemed an unthinkable idea for many Vietnamese parents that wanted their kids to go to university, but now, young adults are standing up to defy the old-fashioned notion.

Vietnam lacks workers with vocational training skills
More bachelor’s degree graduates go to vocational school
Vocational schools, the flavour of the season

A bachelor's degree is no longer a must

Trainees attend a cooking class at Lai Chau Vocational Boarding School. Vocational schools were long deemed an unthinkable idea for many Vietnamese parents who wanted their kids to go to university, but now, young adults are standing up to defy the old-fashioned notion. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan

Three years ago, then 20-year-old Gia Huy finished his second year at the HCM City Transport University knowing he would never graduate.

He had enrolled in the bridge engineering major as suggested by his parents, but the thought that it wasn't for him had nagged him since the first year at the university.

“If I had tired to endure all four years at university, I don’t know how I could have done it, how I could have made it to graduation,” Gia Huy told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.

It took him two years to gain enough courage to quit school and register for a vocational course to be a tour guide, before he broke the news to his parents.

“Mom still cared enough to ask me what went wrong, but my dad was very angry and stopped giving money to me for four months,” he said.

“I had to work part-time to earn money for living while awaiting the course’s starting day. It took my dad quite a while to come to terms with and accept my decision.”

Huy completed his vocational course and now works as a tour guide in HCM City. His job was physically draining, he said, but he found so much fun in what he was doing every day, especially meeting new people and travelling all the time.

“I am still poor and don't earn much, but I can learn so many things from my job and my colleagues. What I’m most proud of in my job is that I can find joy while working,” he said.

 

But not everyone is as brave as Gia Huy. M, who asked for anonymity, tried his best for four years to get his hands on a bachelor degree on chemistry from the HCM City Pedagogy University.

M remembered he felt the major was not suitable for him since his second year but the pressure from his family and friends was too big for him to speak up for himself.

He graduated just as his parents wished, got a job in his field and worked for six months before he gave up. The job mentally exhausted him, so he quit and enrolled in a vocational course.

“There are many kinds of job to do if you only want to earn money and raise your station. But it has to be a job you can have fun in so that you can do it for a long time and your life is meaningful,” M said.

“There’s nothing more joyful than being able to learn and do what you like and want to do.”

Viet Giao Vocational School headmaster Tran Phuong acknowledged that many students went to university due to their parents’ pressure without being able to choose the school or major themselves. If they did not like their subject, it would be very difficult for them to keep going and even harder when they started working, he said.

Sai Gon Tourism Vocational School headmaster Ngo Thi Quynh Huong said there were families in which parents or even grandparents worked in the same career and wanted the next generation to “keep the family tradition”.

“But parents are doing well (in a career) doesn’t necessarily mean their children will also do well as each person is different and has their own interests. Parents should only give suggestions and not strip the children of their right to decide their life and what career they want to work in,” she said. VNS

 
 

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