Viet Nam could fall into the middle-income trap if the country does not improve its labour productivity, says Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) President Vu Tien Loc.
What will happen if Viet Nam does not improve labour productivity by 1.5 to 2 times in the next few years?
Without improving labour productivity, we will obviously fall into the middle-income trap. The risk will be created if we do not achieve breakthroughs in three key fields, including infrastructure, institutions and human resources, in which, human resources will play a crucial role.
Improvement in labour productivity and human resource quality will be key factors for determining if we can overcome the middle-income trap or not. The country can overcome the trap if we have a skilled labour resource because skilled human resources will act as a decisive factor.
How do you comment on the quality of vocational teaching and training in Viet Nam?
I have to say frankly that the current education and training have been unable to meet the country's demand for economic development. Labour productivity mainly depends on the shift from the agriculture sector to the trade-in-services industry.
Workers' skills do not meet the requirements of enterprises, while the country's labour productivity is still among the lowest in this region and the world.
I think that we need to achieve a breakthrough in education and training in Viet Nam, especially vocational training.
To realise these goals, support from the Government, enterprises and the whole society is a must. Enterprises must remain the force behind human resource development. As an employer, they should act as a counsellor for drawing up a strategy for human resource development.
For a long time, the task of human resource development was the responsibility of the State's vocation training schools. However, the State should encourage the private and enterprise sectors to join hands in the vocational training field.
What do you have to say about the participation of enterprises in the vocational training field?
The Party and Government have formulated policies for education's socialisation and encouraged vocational training in the private sector, in which many private enterprises have built vocational training units themselves, which is a respectable effort.
However, further support policies from the Government are needed to promote such enterprises' efforts. Along with financial, market and technical measures, it will be necessary and important to help enterprises participate in vocational training.
At the moment, the Government has allocated a quota and channelled State Budget funds into State vocational training schools on an annual basis. However, these schools haven't been able to meet demand for skilled human resources posed by enterprises.
I would like to propose a new approach for ensuring that the State's money for vocational training is used effectively. That is: Each enterprise should have its own plan for using human resources. The State will directly provide money to help these enterprises. They (enterprises) will invest the money in vocational training or organise the training themselves.
Enterprises may send experts to teach at vocational training schools and students will practise at the enterprise's workshop or factory. Along with institutional support from the Government, close connections between enterprises and training schools will be the key factor in determining the improvement in training quality.
In addition, this is needed for strengthening the role of associations in correctly forecasting labour demand, helping orient the vocational training schools accordingly.
Experience has shown that the quality of vocational training and human resources has always improved considerably where the roles of enterprises and enterprise associations were respected with vocational training.
Moreover, international co-operation is also necessary because we could learn and exchange a lot of good vocational training modules from developed countries. — VNS