Director of the General Department of Vocational Training Nguyen Tien Dung spoke to Thoi bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economics Times) newspaper about measures to improve the quality of training this year.
How important are teachers in raising the quality of vocational training?
In order to meet the demand for high-quality labour as a result of international integration, we are currently focused on reorganising training programmes, improving methods and also increasing investment in the field.
The quality of teachers is regarded as a very important factor in enhancing vocational training.
Any changes would fail to ensure the quality of graduates, if teachers still lacked skills and knowledge. This is what I have gleaned from my own experiences.
While many teachers succeeded in applying integrated, student-focused methods in their classrooms, many others did not, instead using the traditional pattern of lectures and separating theory from practice.
This year's teaching festival of vocational teachers will be an important occasion to work on these issues.
What has Viet Nam learned from competing for jobs in domestic, regional and international arenas?
Participating in these competitions has helped Viet Nam realise that its vocational training must be improved to be able to meet the demands of an integrated economy.
At the recent 41st Worldskills Competition, I saw a huge gap in thinking and in teaching methods between Viet Nam and other countries.
Developed countries regard vocational training as a priority. Students are often oriented toward their future careers beginning in primary school.
Meanwhile, in Viet Nam, university education is highly valued. Often a student will only be considered successful when he or she passes the university entrance exam.
At the 41st Worldskills Competition, most of candidates from foreign countries got vocational training right after graduating from secondary schools. They then worked at firms and pursued higher education at colleges or universities only after they had work experience. So their skills were excellent.
In contrast, most of Vietnamese candidates entered vocational schools after leaving high school. They had no real work experience. They also did not have a chance to become acquainted with new technologies because they were trained using outdated equipment.
What are the new measures to improve vocational training?
As I said, the department has targeted changes in training programmes, training methods and investment.
New teaching programmes will follow national, regional, and international standards in order to ensure success.
The department set up 300 regulation teaching programmes that are being used at vocational schools throughout the country, but they should still be adjusted to address the real needs of enterprises.
Programmes should be designed to follow the model of Malaysia, Germany and South Korea, which are famous for their fast-growing vocational training industries.
To date, throughout the country, more than 100 vocational schools are underway to apply teaching programmes according to regional standards and 40 others are being set up to follow international standards. — VNS