|Students at a vocational school in Can Tho City participate in an electronics lesson. Viet Nam's universities are churning out more graduates than the country can employ, while vocational training schools are struggling to attract students to meet the labour market's demand for skilled workers. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HCM CITY (VNS) — Facing a severe student shortage, many vocational training school classroooms equipped with expensive tools and machinery are going unused as enrolment remains stagnant.
Two years ago, the vocational training centre of Thoi Binh District in Ca Mau Province, for example, built new large classrooms, meeting rooms and rooms for training in hairdressing, cooking, engineering and mechanics.
However, the centre remains deserted, and vocational training classes seldom open.
"It's a waste that vocational training tools and equipment, many of which are very expensive, are not in use. The centre doesn't have students," said Le Tu Phuong, the centre's deputy director.
Dust and cobwebs cover hairdryers, chairs and mirrors. Many Riccar industrial sewing machines remain in packages because the garment training class has yet to begin.
Built in 2012, the vocational training school of U Minh District in Ca Mau Province spent more than VND1.15 billion (US$57,500) to buy tools for training in eight sectors, including electronics, welding, cosmetology and car repair.
"Most of these tools have never been used. We don't have students," said Hoang Thi Kim Nuong, the centre's deputy director.
The vocational training centre in Hau Giang Province's Vi Thuy District is one of the centres with the highest investment capital given by authorities.
Established in 2008, the centre spent VND17 billion ($809,500) to buy tools used for training in repair of computers, motorbikes and industrial sewing machines.
Last year, the centre trained 650 students. However, this year few students have enrolled.
Graduates of junior and senior high schools are qualified to register at vocational training schools.
Nguyen Ngoc Phuoc, director of Vi Thuy District's vocational school, said he had asked local authorities to permit his school to offer classes for rural workers, many of whom have scant education, so that training tools could be used.
Vocational training schools in Da Nang also lack students.
Three schools, including the Viet – A Technical School and Duc Minh Economic and Technical School, stopped operation this year, according to Nguyen Van Dung, head of Da Nang's Continuing Education Office under the Education and Training Department.
Viet Nam's universities are churning out more graduates than the country can employ, while vocational training schools are struggling to attract students to fulfill the labour market's demand for skilled workers.
Each year, 1 million high school graduate, and more than 80 per cent of them select to take university entrance exams.
"About 60 per cent of them will pass the exams. But those who fail university entrance exams refuse to attend vocational schools," said Mac Van Tien, director of National Institute for Vocational Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Only 10 per cent of senior high school graduates enroll in vocational training schools, according to Tien.
He said many vocational schools have failed to attract large numbers of high school graduates because high schools tend to stream students towards universities.
Parents often make the problem worse by encouraging their children to go to university without paying heed to their actual abilities.
"I failed the university entrance exam, but I stayed at home waiting for next year's exam instead of applying for a vocational school," said Vu Duc Vuong, 19, of Dong Nai Province.
"The salary for university graduates is higher than that given to vocational training graduates," Vuong said. — VNS