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What should be done with ineffective provincial universities?

VietNamNet Bridge - The sharp increase in the number of provincial universities in the last decade has led to an oversupply.

VietNamNet Bridge - The sharp increase in the number of provincial universities in the last decade has led to an oversupply.


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Hoang Ngoc Vinh, former director of the Professional Education Department, said personnel and financial capability determine university performance. Many provincial schools, which have mushroomed in the last few years in the ‘university movement’, don’t have either.

Local authorities have limited knowledge about tertiary education management. They think running a university is as simple as a general school. They rushed to open new universities without considering real demand in the labor market and their capability.

Students tend to apply for prestigious schools which are mostly in large cities, not at provincial schools near their homes.

Dang Vu Ngoan, former rector of the HCMC Food Industry University, noted that provincial universities, in general, are weak at governance skills. The schools are state owned and funded by the provincial budget, and they do not have to worry about how to make money to maintain their operations.

Too many provincial universities have been established, with no consideration about the prerequisites needed for sustainable development. The low training quality and limited demand of the national economy have led to a high unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree graduates. 

Ngoan said that too many provincial universities have been established, with no consideration about the prerequisites needed for sustainable development. The low training quality and limited demand of the national economy have led to a high unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree graduates. 

Meanwhile, Nguyen Kim Hong, former rector of the HCMC University of Education, emphasised the qualifications of teaching staff.

“One of the reasons leading to the lack of qualified personnel is the massive development of universities within a short time. This has made it impossible to raise the ratio of lecturers with doctorates to 35 percent, as requested by the government,” Hong said.

Most universities in provinces have undergone a long development path. They initially were intermediate schools (2 year training after general education), then junior colleges (3-year training), and later local universities.

Hong noted that when developing from single-disciplinary junior colleges into multi-disciplinary universities, many schools cannot preserve their training quality both in traditional and new majors.

The chair of FPT University, Le Truong Tung, said provincial universities upgraded from local junior pedagogical colleges while the schools were undergoing restructuring.

Merging local universities with big universities is the solution mentioned by many experts.

Ngoan believes that with the current capability, it would be better for local universities to turn into community junior colleges, which would be satellites of universities in large cities, and in charge of training students in the early phase.

Hong also suggested converting the universities into community junior colleges, which could produce laborers for localities.


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