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Medical courses dwindle in quality amid enrolment surge

Update: September, 27/2013 - 09:37
According to a report from the Ministry of Education and Training, the number of applications in health sciences for the university entrance examinations this year rose by 1.7 per cent compared to last year's figure.—Photo kenhtuyensinh

HCM CITY (VNS)— Many private and provincial-level universities have raised enrolment quotas in their medical and public health programmes, resulting in low-quality education, officials have said.

Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said in a statement sent to the Ministry of Education and Training that the quality of the medical workforce had been badly affected by non-medical universities' poor management.

Many schools permitted to provide training in health sciences have failed to meet requirements on lecturers and facilities, Cuong said.

The number of graduates in nursing and pharmacy has exceeded recruitment demand because of this boom in enrollment at universities.

The Ministry of Health has asked the Ministry of Education and Training to issue warnings about the surplus workforce in nursing and pharmacy in career-orientation programmes for high school students.

It has also recommended that the MoET conduct an inter-ministry inspection of medical schools as well as educational institutions.

Enrolment at these universities increased rapidly over the last few years, according to a report on the medical workforce issued by the Ministry of Health.

Last year, there was a two-fold increase in enrolment compared to the figure in 2007 and a four-fold rise compared to 2003, the report showed.

This year, many private universities accepted students who had scored near or equal to the lowest permitted grades on university entrance examinations for the health sciences.

Hong Bang University in HCM City, for example, accepted a grade of 14, equal to the lowest grade, for students taking Group B university tests that include maths, chemistry and biology.

The test is required for a bachelor's degree programme in nursing and medicine.

Tay Do University in Can Tho City also accepted students with low grades for bachelor's degree programmes in pharmacy and nursing.

"The school will shut down if it fails to attract students," said Phan Van Thom, acting rector of the Tay Do University.

Last year, the school met only 40 per cent of the enrolment target although it accepted students with grades equal to the minimum grades, Thom said.

According to a report from the Ministry of Education and Training, the number of applications in health sciences for the university entrance examinations this year rose by 1.7 per cent compared to last year's figure.

Viet Nam has 49 medical colleges and universities and 17 universities with interdisciplinary majors that provide courses on health sciences. Private universities and provincial universities account for 14. — VNS

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