The director of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' General Department of Vocational Training, Nguyen Tien Dung, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economics Times).
Why is Viet Nam sending teachers abroad for training?
Vietnamese workers who participate in regional skills competitions compare favourably to their competitors, and vocational training generally meets domestic demand. However, standards are still well below those in industrialised countries and training quality differs across the country, so a comprehensive overhaul of teacher training is needed.
|A teacher at the Thai Binh Province Vocational Training School instructs students during an electronics class. Viet Nam is aiming to ensure all vocational training teachers meet education standards by 2016, a key part of work on improving the quality of the nation's workforce. — VNA/VNS Huu Viet
The department has recently selected 96 lecturers from vocational training colleges and universities to be trained in Malaysia, a country that has successfully implemented a vocational training strategy and improved its labour force. This is part of a co-operative job training memorandum between the department, the Malaysian Segi Education Group and the Advanced International Joint Stock Company, a labour export company.
The parties are looking for opportunities to co-operate in vocational training to develop a skilled labour force for Viet Nam's socio-economic development, to help teachers meet international standards and to develop training programmes and upgrade facilities. Foreign language skills will also be included in the programme. In the next five years, we expect to send around 10,000 teachers to Malaysia for further training.
Why did Viet Nam choose Malaysia instead of other countries to help standardise teacher training?
We think our co-operation with Malaysia is a good opportunity to standardise teacher training and develop a vocational training strategy. In the field of vocational training, Viet Nam needs at least 10 years to catch up with Malaysia because standards there are so high, hence the fact we chose Malaysia ahead of other ambitious options such as Germany or Japan because standards there are too high for Viet Nam to follow.
What can be expected from the training programme and how do we stop foreign enterprises from poaching teachers when they have completed the programme?
I have my concerns but still expect the programme to be a success. This could lead to significant change in the quality of teaching, so it's crucial that vocational schools have a proper awareness of the issue, and send the right people on the course.
We will assess and draw lessons from this first class, before sending another 1,000 lecturers to Malaysia for training this year. It's targeted that by 2016, we will basically have a standardised teaching force.
A four month training course in Malaysia could provide lecturers with the skills and knowledge it would take two years to accumulate in Viet Nam. The co-operation should help Viet Nam to get up to speed more quickly, and meet the demand for qualified teachers.
The newly-trained lecturers will be highly sought after when they return because they will be a valuable asset for any enterprise. We are focusing on a comprehensive link between training, market need and income generation, and lecturers will have to pay compensation if they choose to leave their vocation. — VNS