Tran Trung Kien, from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology

The manager of a technology firm told a recent seminar on human resources in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that he went to several universities to look for candidates but it was difficult to recruit high-quality staff. His firm needs many engineers to run the technological infrastructure.

“The annual number of graduates is relatively high, but not many of them satisfy our requirements,” he said, adding that this was similar to other tech firms.

Tran Trung Kien, from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), said that young people like majors such as information technology, control-automation, mechatronics, food processing, economics and management. Other majors, such as environmental engineering, textile engineering, materials engineering and physics, aren't as popular.

“Students tend to pay less attention to postgraduate study. Lack of foreign language skills is also an obstacle for them,” Kien said.

The problems are caused by the uneven distribution of students’ quality, the division among training establishments, and the lack of students for postgraduate study.

Le Huy Hoang, deputy director of the Education and Training Department of the Central Propaganda Committee, said the goal of human resources in STEM fields in Vietnam has not been fully realized comprehensive measures for the problem have not been created.

General education plays an important role in orienting students’ study and driving them to studying STEM. However, the proportion of students choosing tests in natural sciences for high school finals is low. There are not many students studying science, technology and mathematics.

Hoang said that vocational education and higher education play decisive roles in developing high-quality human resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, the attention and investment of vocational training and higher education establishments is insufficient. Particularly, some students cannot enroll in some traditional majors.

Vietnam doesn’t have policies to attract excellent students to technology and engineering schools. It also has no policies to attract workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We talk about high-quality human resources, but we don’t have a master plan on developing high-quality human resources,” said Pham Do Nhat Tien, a respected education expert.

Thanh Hung