State-invested education remains the backbone of the national education system, though Vietnam has been calling for investment from different sectors for many years.
By 2019, Vietnam had 68 private universities and 170 state-owned universities. In terms of higher education, non-state education just accounts for 7 percent of total number of schools and 6 percent of total number of students.
Le Truong Tung, president of FPT University, commented that non-state general and higher education in Vietnam is an ‘ornament’ on Vietnam’s education system.
Tung said Vietnam has been relying on state-invested education. At least 98 percent of total schools are state owned and 98 percent of students belong to state-owned schools.
Vietnam once had semi-state owned schools, a hybrid of state-owned and private. However, later, semi-state owned schools mostly became state owned.
The view on the development of non-state education has changed from ‘increasing the proportion of non-state owned schools in vocational education and higher education’ to ‘reasonably developing state-invested and non-state education’.
|Under the plan to reform Vietnam’s higher education in 2005-2020 in Resolution No 14/2005, the government strives to have 200 students per 10,000 people by 2020 and 450 students by 2020|
Under the plan to reform Vietnam’s higher education in 2005-2020 in Resolution No 14/2005, the government strives to have 200 students per 10,000 people by 2020 and 450 students by 2020.
The resolution says 40 percent of students would study at non-state owned schools by 2020. However, in fact, the number of non-state owned schools just account for 13 percent and the proportion has not changed much over the last 20 years.
Tung noted that the method of calculating the number of students per 10,000 people is unreasonable because of the makeup of the population. It would be better to count the number of students among people aged 18-25.
According to Tung, to stimulate the development of education to make it commensurate to economic growth, developing non-state education is a must. However, the training expenditures per head per annum in Vietnam remain low.
“To upgrade the quality of non-state education, it is necessary to increase the study expenditures per head,” he commented.
He also suggested that besides the existing non-state and state-invested education models, Vietnam should consider other models, including PPP (private public partnership) and ‘state-invested and privately operated’ model as well as education methods that meet the requirements of digital transformation.
Under Resolution No 35 on education and training development in 2019-2025 dated June 4, 2019, the number of non-state owned schools would account for 30 percent and the number of students by 22.5 percent by 2025.
A variety of solutions to improve recruitment and incentive policies for teachers were proposed by representatives from 24 districts at a recent conference on education universalisation and illiteracy eradication in HCM City.
Upgrading higher education quality rrequires restructuring the university system and shutting down low-quality establishments, experts say.