VietNamNet Bridge – Educators in the past complained about their lack of freedom in making important decisions about school operations, and were later granted more autonomy by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). But some of them are now  reluctant to use it.


However, the HCM City Economics University has said that it would use the new self-governing method in the 2014-2015 academic year, four years after using it on a trial basis.

The leaders of the school have said that the “autonomy” will allow training establishments to solve key problems.

State-owned universities have been following MOET’s regulation on tuition collection for a number of years, which is part of the self-governing mechanism. They have collected VND5 million from every student every academic year.

The schools also receive certain amounts of money every year from the State budget, which they have used to pay for facilities upgrades and investments.

However, the schools do not have enough money to upgrade their facilities and improve their training quality, they say.

Dr. Tran Hoang Ngan, vice president of the HCM City Economics University, said under the self-governing mechanism, schools have the right to make decisions on all matters related to the schools’ development.

They can decide how much to spend on training, teaching staff, facilities, scientific research and training curriculum development.

Ton Duc Thang University has been cited as a success story in this regard.

Since 2008, the school has been receiving only VND37.5 billion from the State every year, while it has had to balance receipts and expenditures itself.

The autonomy has helped the school create total assets worth VND1 trillion and employ more than 1,000 highly qualified lecturers.

Cautious steps

Though universities want autonomy, they moved ahead hesitantly after the watchdog agency gave them more independence.

The Education Law, in the eyes of analysts, gives a high degree of autonomy to schools, which is expected to create a breakthrough for higher education.

Under the new mechanism, the State does not deeply intervene in school affairs, and school leaders have the right to determine their own policies.

However, schools do not receive financial support from the State and they have to balance receipts and expenses themselves.

Therefore, in order to have enough money to cover their operations, schools have to require higher tuition.

Dr. Do Van Dung, president of the HCM City University of Technical Education, said it would be easier for business schools to apply the self-control mechanism, because the training costs of the schools are not too high.

Meanwhile, the higher training costs of technology schools would have to require higher tuition, which would make the schools less attractive in the eyes of students.

He went on to say that it costs VND22-25 million a year to train every student in high-quality classes and VND15 million a year to train every student in normal classes. The high tuition is unaffordable for many students.

Therefore, Dung said, the self-governing mechanism could be a double-edged sword for schools.


Thanh Mai