Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended the Group of 77 (G77) summit on climate change in Dubai on December 2 (local time), as part of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change there.

The event was chaired by President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez of Cuba, which holds the 2023 chairmanship of G77 – a group of developing countries. It saw the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and leaders and representatives of 134 member states of G77 and international organisations.

Addressing the summit’s main debate, PM Chinh hailed Cuba’s initiative to hold the event and affirmed the Caribbean country’s leadership as Chair of G77.

He emphasised the importance of effective climate change response to the world and Vietnam and proposed three cooperation orientations for G77.

First, it is necessary to promote a global and all people-based approach and uphold multilateralism with the motto of common but differentiated responsibilities, justice, and reasonableness with socio-economic development demand of developing countries taken into account.

Second, science, technology, and innovation should be turned into the key cooperation area of G77 on the basis of establishing an inclusive cooperation mechanism and capitalising on the strengths of both developed countries (capital, technology) and developing ones (markets, resources).

Third, preferential climate finance should be promoted in a way that makes it more accessible, does not increase the debt burden, and not at the expense of resources for realising other development goals.

The PM highlighted Vietnam’s green transition resolve as seen in its strong commitments announce at COP26, participation in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), and implementation of plans, projects, and strategies on green growth, sustainable development, and energy transition.

The Vietnamese leader expressed readiness to coordinate and share experience with other G77 members.

In his remarks, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez underlined the importance of enhancing international solidarity and cooperation in response to major global challenges. He called on G77 countries to stay united, share voice, and ensure the rights and legitimate interests of developing countries that are being directly and severely affected by climate change.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the role of developing countries in promoting a multilateral process for climate targets and calling for climate justice. He urged developed nations to quickly increase assistance for the countries of the Global South and, especially, deliver on their climate finance commitments.

The summit welcomed and highly valued the turning-point significance of the adoption of the Loss and Damage Fund. It affirmed the need to bring into play the role of G77, step up actions, and boost effective solutions to climate change.

Dien Bien Airport reopens after major upgrade

Dien Bien Airport in the northern province of Dien Bien reopened with the two first flights on December 2 after eight months of upgrading.

 Dien Bien Airport reopens with the first two flights on December 2 after eight months of upgrading. (Photo: SGGP)
The two flights operating by the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, and low-cost carrier Vietjet Air carrying passengers from Hanoi and HCMC were welcomed with a water cannon salute at the airport.

The expansion project of Dien Bien Airport began in January 2022. The project which is estimated to cost VND1.4 trillion (US$57.6 million) aims to mark 70 years of Dien Bien Phu victory.

According to the project’s investor, the works include the building of a new runway of 2,400 meters to receive large aircraft such as A320 and A321 aircraft and those with equivalent sizes; an upgrade of the existing terminal to meet the capacity of 500,000 passengers per year, installation of a lighting system and security fences and other supplementary works.

The construction and expansion of Dien Bien Airport is a significant event for the Party, Government, and people of Dien Bien Province, contributing to strengthening the connection to the mountainous northwestern part of the country, creating a driving force for socio-economic development and jobs for people as well as improving residents’ quality of life.

Dien Bien Airport is expected to attract businesses specialized in tourism, trade, and service sectors promoting cultural characteristics of ethnic minority groups in the northern mountainous provinces, especially the Dien Bien Phu Battlefield Relics Complex.

Vietnam Airlines will offer seven flights per week on the Hanoi-Dien Bien route while Vietjet Air will operate the HCMC-Dien Bien route with three flights per week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Culture contributes to creating Vietnam’s strong tourism brand

Culture contributes to creating Vietnam’s strong tourism brand hinh anh 1

With rich cultural resources, Vietnam has advantages to develop cultural tourism as an important service economic sector, according to Nguyen Trung Khanh, Chairman of Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT).

The official said that under the national strategy for developing Vietnam's cultural industries to 2030, cultural tourism will account for 15-20% of the total of about 40 billion USD in revenue.

Over the recent years, Vietnam has done a great job in preserving and promoting the value of cultural heritage. Cultural tourism products have been developed based on exploiting the inherent natural value of heritage such as traditional culture, community cultural life, and festivals.

New types of cultural tourism products are being promoted such as performing arts, music festivals, cinema, fashion, and contemporary performing arts.

Recent shows by BlackPink - a girl band from the Republic of Korea - led to a sudden increase in searches for accommodation facilities in Hanoi. Specifically, Agoda recorded a more than 10-fold increase in such searches in Hanoi compared to the same period for previous weeks. The number of searches from abroad to Vietnam increased by 685% on the nights the Korean band performed.

Cultural tourism products have created a strong brand in Vietnam. At the World Travel Awards 2022, Vietnam was honoured as "the world's leading heritage destination" for the third time after those in 2019 and 2020. Hoi An city in the central province of Quang Nam was honoured for the third time in the category of Asia's Leading Cultural Urban Destination.

According to the Department of Cultural Heritage, after being ranked and registered, relics and scenic spots have become "red addresses", attracting a large number of tourists.

In 2019, the eight world cultural and natural heritage sites in Vietnam welcomed more than 21.3 million visitors, including 10.6 million international tourists. Revenue from tickets and direct service fees was about 3.12 trillion VND (128.9 million USD ). 

As for Hoi An ancient town, since becoming a world heritage site, its tourism has been growing dramatically and accounts for more than 70% of the city's GDP.

Since Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was registered by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 2014, Ninh Binh province has set a clear strategy to promote heritage value, serving tourism development. In 2022, it welcomed more than 3.7 million visitors.

Those numbers show the great contribution of the world heritage sites in the socio-economic development of the country and localities since they were given UNESCO titles.

According to the VNAT, Vietnam’s cultural tourism products have an important role to play in creating a national brand, improving its competitiveness, and attracting international tourists who want to learn about the country, people, history, and culture of Vietnam.

The authority also said developing cultural tourism in Vietnam still faces challenges such as fierce competition in destinations, tourism products and services, insufficient legal framework, limited promotion, and a shortage of human resources.

VNAT Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh said that the tourism industry needs to develop concerted policies to ensure harmony between cultural heritage preservation and development. 

Developing the cultural industry must be associated with cultural and smart tourism, he said, adding each region and locality needs to shape and build a cultural tourism brand and the tourism industry should strengthen the application of information technology and digital technology in building and promoting certain products for specific markets.

Cambodian NA President concludes visit to Vietnam

President of the Cambodian National Assembly Samdech Khuon Sudary left Hanoi on December 2 afternoon, concluding a successful official visit to Vietnam from November 30-December 2 at the invitation of NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

During the visit, the Cambodia NA leader met with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Vo Van Thuong, held talks with NA Chairman Hue, and made a working trip to the northern province of Ha Nam.

In all the meetings and talks, the two sides acknowledged the strong development of the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Regarding parliamentary cooperation, the two sides agreed to work closely together in building institutions and legal systems to maintain political stability, ensure national defence and security, promote socioeconomic development and enhance the international position of each country as well as to foster the development of the bilateral ties.

The two sides agreed to maintain contacts at all levels to share experiences in law building, supervision and making decisions on important national matters, and at the same time bring into play the role of the legislative body in promoting relations between the two countries.   
During the trip to Ha Nam, the Cambodian NA leader told the provincial leaders that her trip to Vietnam is a new milestone that helps consolidate and develop the relations between the two countries in general and the two legislative bodies in particular, while promoting exchange between localities of both sides across the fields of economy, trade, education, training, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchange.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Truong Quoc Huy, for his part, believed that Samdech Khuon Sudary’s visit to Vietnam will contribute to consolidating the Vietnam – Cambodia ties in the spirit of “good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive partnership and long-term sustainability” which have been nurtured by generations of leaders of both sides.
Ha Nam wishes to have opportunities to enhance mutual understanding with Cambodian localities so as to study collaboration in economy, culture, society, trade promotion and tourism, among others, he added.

On the occasion, Samdech Khuon Sudary and a high-ranking delegation from the Cambodian National Assembly visited and planted tree at the National Tourism Site of Tam Chuc in Kim Bang district.

Vietnam, China to deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership

Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee and head of its Commission for External Relations Le Hoai Trung met with Politburo member, Director of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission Office and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi in Hanoi on December 2.

The two sides highly valued positive results in the relations between the two Parties and the countries, especially important achievements during the 15 years since the establishment of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and after the China visit by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in October 2022.

Trung affirmed the high regard and top priority that the Vietnamese Party and State attach to the Vietnam-China relationship, and emphasised the long-term strategic orientation significance of the relations between the two Parties and their top leaders to the development of the Vietnam-China relationship in the new period.

Wang, for his part, stated that the Party, State and people of China attach great importance to the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation with their Vietnamese counterparts, and consider developing the bilateral relations a priority in China's neighbouring diplomacy.

The official expressed his belief that with the orientations mapped out by the top leaders, the two sides will overcome all challenges, push ahead with national development, and contribute to the world socialist movement, for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Host and guest discussed and agreed on many measures to effectively realise high-level common perceptions, and constantly deepen the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership of Vietnam and China.

Tree planting marks 50th anniversary of Vietnam – Finland ties

A tree planting day was organised at Cuc Phuong National Park in the northern province of Ninh Binh on December 2 to mark the 106th anniversary of Finland’s Independence Day (December 6) and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-Finland diplomatic relations (January 25).

The event, organised by the Vietnam – Finland Friendship Association (VFFA) and the Vietnam National University of Forestry, saw the attendance of Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Keijo Norvato, representatives from the Party Central Committee's Commission for External Relations, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many organisations and businesses having cooperation with Finland.

President of the VFFA Tran Van Chu congratulated Finland on its great achievements over the past years, with stable political institution, prosperous economy, and particularly green development path. He said the tree planting event is also intended to acknowledge Finland's help for Vietnam, especially in green growth and protection of water and forest resources. 

Touching on the bilateral relations, Chu said that besides the Party and State’s external activities, people-to-people exchange has become a channel that helps enhance mutual understanding, promote effective multi-faceted cooperation and create a strong foundation to develop the bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Finnish Ambassador to Vietnam Keijo Norvato said over the past five decades, Vietnam and Finland have developed together and become a reliable friend of each other.

He added that tree planting is an inspiring activity and demonstrates the two countries’ resolve to respond to climate change.

Participants at the event committed to continuing support and creating favourable conditions to promote mutual understanding between the two peoples, and promoting collaboration, especially in the fields of forest protection.

Hanoi conference looks into Vietnam-US relationship

A conference on 10 years of the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership in retrospect and prospects of the comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development was jointly held in Hanoi on December 2 by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the US Embassy in Vietnam.

VUFO President Phan Anh Son reviewed major strides in the bilateral relationship across all spheres after nearly 30 years of normalising relations and establishing diplomatic relations, and 10 years of establishing the comprehensive partnership.

In the fields of politics and diplomacy, many high-level visits have been made, he said, noting that each of them marked new steps forward and opened up new cooperation stages. 
Notably, two-way trade stood at 123 billion USD last year, up more than 270 times from 1995, and the figure reached 61 billion USD in the first seven months of this year, he continued.

Son also took note of positive outcomes in bilateral cooperation in national defence and security, especially in the settlement of war consequences, handling non-traditional security challenges, and ensuring security and safety of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.

In culture, and education-training, he said the two countries have launched more than 10 exchange programmes, and the number of Vietnamese students in the US has grown to nearly 30,000 this year from only 800 in 1995.

Over the past more than 10 years, the US has provided Vietnam with aid worth over 1.8 billion USD and held many cooperation activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that the two sides have also coordinated increasingly closely at regional and global forums, and in addressing many global issues. 

People-to-people exchange activities have changed in both content and methods of operation, contributing to creating a favourable, broad and solid social foundation for the relations between the two states to further develop, he continued.

Son laid emphasis on the upgrade of the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development on September 10, 2023, which, he said, has opened up a new period for the bilateral friendship and cooperation.

He attributed such achievements to continuous efforts by both nations in “shelving the past, overcoming differences, promoting similarities and looking toward the future.”

For his part, US Ambassador Marc E. Knapper stressed that the comprehensive partnership has grown fruitfully over the past decade, as marked by the Vietnam visit by President Joe Biden this year, and the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development.

The US is fully confident in and respects Vietnam's political system and territorial integrity, and is proud to be Vietnam's partner and work together with the country to achieve common goals and ensure security and prosperity for their people, he said.

Labour cooperation important part of Vietnam-UAE ties: PM

Labour cooperation is an important field that helps connect the two economies and bolster the comprehensive collaboration between Vietnam and the UAE, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has said.  

Receiving the UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al-Awar in Dubai on December 1 as part of the working trip to the UAE, PM Chinh spoke highly of the working session between Vietnamese Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung and Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al-Awar, and the signing of an MoU on labour cooperation between the two sides. 

Chinh said the MoU helps complete a legal framework for both countries to step up collaboration in the field, and better ensure the legitimate rights of Vietnamese workers in the UAE. 
He suggested the UAE side join hands with the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) to evaluate the UAE’s labour demand, and build a labour cooperation plan based on Vietnam’s labour structure, sectors that the UAE is in need of workers, requirements on labour quality, and periods of implementation.

The PM asked the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to assist Vietnam in training workers in not only skills and professional ethnics but also the culture, practice and regulations of the UAE.

Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al-Awar, for his part, said the UAE has high demand for migrant workers, and affirmed that Vietnamese labourers have made significant contributions to the country’s labour market.

Agreeing with PM Chinh’s recommendations, he said he will work together with the MoLISA to outline specific plans to bring more Vietnamese workers to the UAE, and suggested helping vocational centres in Vietnam with human resources training, especially in foreign language, regulations and culture.
On December 2, PM Chinh hosted receptions for several leaders of economic groups specialising in energy, infrastructure and technology.

Meeting with leaders of Equinor energy company headquartered in Norway, PM Chinh welcomed the firm’s intention to cooperate with Vietnamese partners to develop renewable energy in the country. He asked Equinor to work closely with Vietnamese partners to study the development of renewable energy in Vietnam, focusing on the energy sources and transmission. 
The Government leader affirmed that Vietnam always protects legitimate rights and interests of, and creates favourable conditions for foreign investors, including Equinor, to do business in the country in the spirit of “harmonised benefits, shared risks”.
Equinor leaders said the company wants to branch out offshore wind power in Vietnam, and hopes that the Southeast Asian country will complete legal institutions to facilitate its investment.

Chinh also met with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, who is also a member of the management board of the Abu Dhabi Ports Group, and several other executives of the group.  

At the meeting, the business executives said Abu Dhabi Ports Group is a subsidiary of the conglomerate IHC, which has invested in Vietnam through TTEK Company in the fields of customs technologies, and digital payment solutions.

The IHC wants to expand investment in the country in seaports, logistics, digital transformation, smart urban areas and non-tariff zones, they said.

PM Chinh said infrastructure development is among the three breakthroughs that Vietnam is carrying out to boost its socio-economy, so the country welcomes the IHC’s investments, especially those in seaports and logistics infrastructure.

He took the occasion to thank the group for supporting Vietnam in the implementation of several digital transformation projects, saying Vietnam looks forward to the group’s investment in science-technology, research and development activities, innovation, among others.

Vietnam General Confederation of Labour convenes 13th National Congress

The 13th National Congress of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) for the 2023-2028 tenure opened in Hanoi on December 2, bringing together 1,100 delegates representing more than 11 million trade union members nationwide.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Vo Van Thuong and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, along with many senior Party, State and Government officials joined representatives of big corporations and economic groups, and international delegates at the event. 
In his opening remarks, VGCL Standing Vice President Tran Thanh Hai noted that the congress is an important political event and a great festival of the working class and trade union organisations, which is expected to decide major matters relating to workers and public servants, as well as trade union operations.

Over the past five years, the Party and State issued many guidelines, policies and laws, especially the Politburo’s Resolution No. 02 dated June 12, 2021 on renovating the organisation and operation of the country's trade union organisation in the new situation, thus facilitating such activities, he said.

Highlighting reforms by all-level trade unions, the official said they and the working class have proven their position, role and responsibility in the cause of national industrialisation and modernisation, and international integration.

The congress will review achievements, look into shortcomings, draw lessons learned from the 2018 - 2023 term, and set out goals, tasks and solutions for the next five years, according to Hai.

VGCL President Nguyen Dinh Khang presented a report looking back on the performance by all-level trade unions, especially the VGCL, over the past five years, highlighting that they actively engaged in the process of building policies and laws to better protect the rights and interests of labourers, including pushing for raising the regional minimum wage, which has increased by 25.34% compared to the beginning of the term. 
In addition, they have played the advisory role in organising annual dialogues between the Prime Minister and workers, labourers’ forums chaired by the NA Chairperson, and meetings between NA deputies and workers.

Over the past five years, more than 4.4 million people have been admitted to trade unions and over 24,000 trade unions at the grassroots level have been established, Khang said, adding that multiple solutions have been taken to improve the operational quality of trade union organisations.

Addressing the congress, Party General Secretary Trong praised the efforts and achievements of workers’ movements and trade union organisations nationwide, emphasising that the trade union organisation of Vietnam has significantly contributed to strengthening the Vietnamese working class.

The leader asked the VGCL to be fully aware of its missions as a political-social organisation operating in a socialist-oriented market economy under the leadership of the Party and the management of the State. Therefore, it should continue coordinating with the State, agencies and organisations in the political system and employers to better ensure the legitimate rights and interests of labourers.

He also stressed the need to further revamp the communication work and personnel training in order to build a strong, modern working class, saying that trade union organisations should help each trade union member and labourer gain deeper awareness of the Party, the regime, the class, the trade union organisation, and citizen responsibilities, thus making greater efforts in studying and working, and actively participating in emulation movements. At the same time, trade unions at all levels must well perform their role as the representative of working people, taking care of and protecting their legal and legitimate rights and interests.

Pointing to the complex domestic and global economic situation, which has affected job stability and income of labourers, the Party chief urged the VGCL to pay more attention to building long-term welfare programmes in support of trade union members and labourers, especially those in difficult circumstances.

With the emergence of new employment forms and relations, all-level trade unions must adapt their organisational models, as well as the goals and methods of operation to the needs and aspirations of labourers, he said.

The leader reminded trade unions of their role in the building of the Party and political system, supervisions, social criticism, and the fight against corruption and other negative phenomena.

To meet requirements in the new situation, it is a must to further reform trade union activities and enhance the quality of trade union officials, he said, urging more attention from Party agencies, Party organisations, authorities and organisations to the work.

Trong expressed his belief that the trade union organisation, the working class and labourers of Vietnam will make new strides in the 2023-2028 tenure, significantly contributing to the cause of reform, and national industrialisation and modernisation.

VN calls on countries to continue multilateral approach to int’l migration

The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and countries across the globe should continue the cooperative and multilateral approach to address migration issues, with the IOM playing the central and leading role in strengthening global migration management, a Vietnamese diplomat has said.

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations in Geneva, made the statement while attending the 114th session of the IOM council recently held in Switzerland.

She highlighted Vietnam has been actively carrying out policies and measures under the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), and thanked the IOM for its support for the country to implement the document. 

Voicing her concerns over human trafficking and illegal migration, especially the risks related to online frauds, the Vietnamese diplomat suggested the IOM and its member states assess the emerging challenges to migration, while identifying priority measures to promote the implementation of the GCM in a practical fashion across the globe. 

Meanwhile, IOM General Director Amy Pope said that priorities of the IOM in the coming time will include protecting migrants and seeking solutions to forced displacement and measures to respond to climate change and promote regular migration channels.

She called on countries to continue providing flexible funding for the IOM so that the organisation is able to better handle diverse migration challenges.

At the session, IOM member states hailed the organisation’s important role in tackling migration issues as well as its restructuring to improve operation efficiency.

They agreed that countries and partners, under the leadership of the IOM, need to strengthen cooperation to promote safe and orderly migration in tandem with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to effectively carrying out the GCM.

HCM City, China’s Guangxi province foster cooperation between people-elected agencies

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council Pham Thanh Kien on December 1 hosted a reception for visiting Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional People's Congress of China Fang Chunming.   
Kien hailed the significance of Fang’s visit at a time when Vietnam and China are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, saying that it will open up prospects to enhance collaboration between the two localities and people-elected agencies.  

The official stressed positive results of the friendship and cooperation between HCM City and Chinese localities, and expressed his wish that Fang, in his position, will create conditions for and encourage Guangxi enterprises and investors to continue running long-term business in the southern metropolis, given the great economic potential of China in general and of Guangxi businesses in particular. 

For his part, Fang pointed to potential for cooperation, particularly in economy, between China and Vietnam, as well as between HCM City and Guangxi province, and affirmed that Guangxi stands ready to work together with the city to boost exchange and cooperation activities, which were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He suggested the municipal People’s Council and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional People's Congress step up the exchange of delegations, information and experience, and coordinate in implementing people-to-people exchanges, and trade and investment promotion activities.

Unmanned foreign cargo ship swept ashore on Cham Islands

In the afternoon of December 1, authorities from the Border Guard Command of Quang Nam Province reported that a crewless cargo ship was swept ashore by large waves and became stranded on the coast of the Cham Islands.
The unmanned King Rich vessel, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, has been washed ashore on the Cham Islands by large waves. Accordingly, at approximately 11 a.m. on the same day, authorities were informed that an unmanned cargo ship had drifted ashore and grounded in the Dua Cape area, Bai Huong Village, on Cham Islands in Tam Hiep Commune, Hoi An City.

Following the initial verification, the vessel involved is identified as the King Rich, registered under the Sierra Leonean flag. It is a liquid cargo ship with a total gross tonnage of 13,925 tons, a length of 132 meters, and a width of 21 meters.

As a result of the vessel colliding with reefs, the bow is damaged, posing a high risk of sinking. At present, the combination of large waves and the high bulwark structure of the ship hinders the border guard officers on the Cham Islands from approaching and boarding the vessel.

"Currently, there are no crew members aboard the King Rich vessel, and we have not yet ascertained the remaining cargo and fuel on the ship. Authorities are actively implementing surveillance and protection measures to restrict public access to the ship," the leadership of the Border Guard Command of Quang Nam Province informed further.

Educationists fret commercialization in higher education leads to low quality

Education experts fretted that commercialization in higher education leads to low-quality education; consequently, university students will not meet the human resource requirements of society.

According to educationists, private universities are currently racing to open majors, increasing targets, and not paying attention to revitalizing investment in facilities and improving education quality. An inevitable consequence of the current situation is that students cannot meet the high demands of the high-quality human resources of society.

Many private universities are being managed and operated by corporations and large-scale enterprises earning high revenues, but these schools are still hiring premises as lecture halls.

Typically, Gia Dinh University was established in 2007 but until now the facility is still rented a house at 371 Nguyen Kiem Street in Ward 3 of Ho Chi Minh City Go Vap District and 185-187 Hoang Van Thu Street in Ward 8 of Phu Nhuan District. Meanwhile, construction of Hoa Sen University's main campus in HCMC’s District 1 has been completed, but currently, it still has to rent facilities in District 3 and District 12.

Although Nguyen Tat Thanh University has invested in building many facilities, it still has to rent facilities in many places in District 7 and District 12. Even though it is called an international university, Hong Bang International University still rents premises at 120 Hoa Binh Street in Hoa Thanh Ward of Tan Phu District.

Anonymous Associate Professor disclosed the truth about private-owned schools after 2 years working as principal of a private university in Ho Chi Minh City. He now resigns as principal of that private school. He said that he thought as he used to work as a principal at an autonomous public school, he would be suitable for the open mechanism of private schools, but when it comes to work, it is completely opposite.

He was paid a monthly salary of over VND100 million (US$ 4,121) as a principal but he had to meet the assigned task of immediately opening many majors as well as increasing the admission quotas of both undergraduate and postgraduate by at least 50 percent compared to the previous year.

Nevertheless, when he wanted to recruit good lecturers and invest in facilities to ensure conditions for the opening of new majors and training quality, his employers shook their heads. His employers said that he is responsible for increasing the enrolment quotas as much as possible and they will hire premises as lecture halls without investing in people and facilities.

So this principal tried his best to raise the admission quotas and the enrollment results exceeded nearly 100 percent of that in previous years. Sadly, more student graduates registered for master's, they had to pay increased tuition fees as well as learn in rented lecture halls with poor quality, they sent messages to the old Associate Professor – the school principal – blaming him for advising them to learn in the school; as a result, they have to pay increased tuition fees and study in poor lecture halls. The old principal was sorry for the students who trusted him; so he tried to persuade the board of directors to recruit highly qualified lecturers for high-quality training, but the board of directors still refused his proposal. At last, he had to resign from the position in the mid-term.

Another Associate Professor from Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy also said he was still a lecturer for postgraduate classes at a school after he retired. However, many schools tried to open health majors such as Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy while they were short of teaching staff according to regulations. Many schools hired his colleagues’ degrees to open majors or to have enough lecturers according to the Ministry of Education and Training’s regulations.

Worse, many schools just buy a few machines and a few pieces of equipment for the opening of majors such as Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. Then, they started to receive students in these majors and collect tuition fees of hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong a year. Students majoring in healthcare will take care of the health of the community, but if they are trained in such poor conditions, it will cause incidents.

A student had high academic performance in the high school graduation exam with Math 8.4 points, Chemistry 9.25 points, Biology 9.75 points. He was qualified to become a student in Medicine at Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, but because his family could not afford the tuition fee of over VND50 million a year, he had no choice but to give up on his dream of being a doctor.

After that, he went to Nguyen Tat Thanh University and Hong Bang International University to study and plans to consider studying Medicine. Even though he was told to receive a full scholarship for the first year's tuition, when he learned that the tuition for the entire course ranged from more than VND 600 million to more than VND1 billion, he did not dare to consider admission.

Giving up on his dream of becoming a doctor because of high tuition fees, he had to register for admission to the Chemical Engineering Technology major at Ho Chi Minh City University of Industry and Trade, with a tuition fee of about VND 22 million a year.

Meanwhile, another student in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District, said that he previously registered to study Medicine at Tan Tao University with a tuition fee of US$5,000 a year (more than VND100 million annually. When he was a fourth-year student, the school announced to increase in tuition to $7,000 a year (or more than VND140 million a year. Moreover, he revealed that if a student retakes the course or retakes the exam because all students study for credits and fail the exam, they have to pay the tuition fees again which are high.

Due to his family's poor economic conditions to afford new tuition rates, he decided to change schools. After he transferred schools, the school sued him demanding a refund of the scholarship amount with interest up to more than VND 384 million. For nearly 2 years, he both had to go to school and go to court. Finally, the judge decided that she won the case and did not have to repay the above money.

VN calls on countries to continue multilateral approach to int’l migration

The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and countries across the globe should continue the cooperative and multilateral approach to address migration issues, with the IOM playing the central and leading role in strengthening global migration management, a Vietnamese diplomat has said.

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations in Geneva, made the statement while attending the 114th session of the IOM council recently held in Switzerland.

She highlighted Vietnam has been actively carrying out policies and measures under the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), and thanked the IOM for its support for the country to implement the document. 

Voicing her concerns over human trafficking and illegal migration, especially the risks related to online frauds, the Vietnamese diplomat suggested the IOM and its member states assess the emerging challenges to migration, while identifying priority measures to promote the implementation of the GCM in a practical fashion across the globe. 

Meanwhile, IOM General Director Amy Pope said that priorities of the IOM in the coming time will include protecting migrants and seeking solutions to forced displacement and measures to respond to climate change and promote regular migration channels.

She called on countries to continue providing flexible funding for the IOM so that the organisation is able to better handle diverse migration challenges.

At the session, IOM member states hailed the organisation’s important role in tackling migration issues as well as its restructuring to improve operation efficiency.

They agreed that countries and partners, under the leadership of the IOM, need to strengthen cooperation to promote safe and orderly migration in tandem with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to effectively carrying out the GCM.

France pledges assistance to Vietnam’s climate action plan

France will accompany and assist Vietnam in implementing the Political Declaration on the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) of which both are members.

French President Emmanuel Macron was speaking at a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Dubai on December 2, on the sidelines of the COP28 World Climate Change Action Summit.

Macron spoke highly of the two countries’ cooperation potential and said the two sides need to coordinate more effectively and comprehensively in all areas.

He said he would send a number of French ministers to visit Vietnam to promote specific cooperation activities, especially in economy, trade and investment. He also revealed that the French Government has worked out a roadmap to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) ahead of his coming visit to Vietnam.

Macron underlined the importance of cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, saying France would continue to help Vietnam preserve cultural and historical sites.

For his part, Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh highly appreciated the positive development of the Vietnam - France strategic partnership, in the context of the two countries celebrating 50 years of their diplomatic relations (1973-2023) and 10 years of their Strategic Partnership (2013-2023). He respectfully conveyed the best regards of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Vo Van Thuong and their invitation to visit Vietnam to the French President.

He proposed that the two sides effectively conctitise the outcome of the phone talks in October 2023 between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Emmanuel Macron, especially in increasing visit exchanges, promoting cooperation in security-defense, economy, trade, investment, science-technology, education-training, innovation, digital transformation, green transformation, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

He also asked France to speed up the process of ratifying the EVIPA.

The two sides agreed to continue to cooperate closely at multilateral forums and exchange positions on international issues of mutual concern.

Thai Consulate General hosts blood donation drive

The Thai Consulate in HCM City organised a blood donation event on December 2 to mark the birth anniversary of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand and Thailand’s Father’s Day, which falls on December 5.

Speaking at the event, Wiraka Moodhitaporn, the consul general, said the blood donation drive was an opportunity for the Thai and Vietnamese communities living in HCM City and neighbouring provinces to make contributions to community activities. 

It is also part of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the Việt Nam-Thailand Strategic Partnership, she said.

Chinoros Benjachavakul, senior vice president for human resources and corporate affairs at C.P. Việt Nam Corporation, came to the Thai consulate early on Saturday morning to donate blood.

“This is the 58th time I have donated blood, including 32 times for donation blood drives in Việt Nam and 26 times in Thailand,” Benjachavakul said.

Blood donation is a beautiful deed from our compassionate heart and a lifesaving gift, he said.

“Together, we can give blood to save the lives of people in need and make contributions to the community,” he added.

A total of 148 units of blood were donated by officials at the consulate, the Thai community and locals.

A bicycle parade was held on the same day to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation.

The annual event was organised by the Thai consulate in collaboration with the Việt Nam Red Cross Society and the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Việt Nam. 

Thủy to seek Olympics berth from 2023 Grand Slam

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thủy will compete in the Grand Slam 2023 judo tournament seeking to win her place in the Olympic Games next summer, which would be her second Olympics.

Thủy has totally recovered from her injuries and left for Tokyo, Japan for the tournament.

“I have trained hard and ensured my best fitness for the Grand Slam," said national and SEA Games champion Thủy.

"It will be a really tough competition and I will have to try my best for the highest result which will help me receive points for world ranking," she said.

Thủy is currently Việt Nam's strongest athlete in the women's 52kg category.

She dominated the national tournament for many years before winning SEA Games titles two editions in a row, in 2022 in Việt Nam and 2023 in Cambodia.

She bore the most expectations among Việt Nam’s judo competitors at China's 19th Asian Games. Unfortunately, days after the delegation's departure for the Hangzhou Games, Thủy suffered a knee injury and could not join.

Thủy first took part in the Olympics in the Tokyo Games in 2021. She was defeated in the first round by Romanian Andreea Chitu, two-time world championship silver medallist. Before coming to Tokyo, Chitu won silver from the European championship.

Apart from Thủy, Việt Nam will also send Chu Đức Đạt to take part in the men's 60kg category in the Grand Slam. 

Đạt is the two-time SEA Games defending champion. He won in the 31st and 32nd editions.

The Grand Slam, an Olympic qualification, will be held on December 2-3 with the participation of more than 500 athletes from 84 countries and regions.

The male fighters will take part in seven weight categories ranging from U60kg to over-100kg, while the females will compete in the U48kg to over-78kg classes.

Thủy will play Abe Uta of the host in Pool D in the first round, while Đạt receive a bye to the second round where he will take on Giorgi Sardalashvili of Georgia.

The Olympics' qualifiers will end on June 23, 2024. The International Judo Federation will officially announce qualified athletes for the Paris Games on July 2.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes