Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said yesterday that the so-called Hà Tĩnh scandal, in which several female teachers were forced to be temporary receptionists at a provincial event, was a "very bad incident" .
Addressing the National Assembly heated by the queries regarding the scandal, the Deputy PM said that the Government must be determined to prevent these sorts of incidents, not only with teachers but female personnel, in general.
Education Minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ, who followed Natural Resources and Environment Minister Trần Hồng Hà on the hot seat at the NA’s cabinet hearing yesterday, admitted that the Hà Tĩnh incident was far from unique.
"In fact, it has happened in many other places," Nhạ said. "As the education minister, I acknowledge my responsibility in protecting the rights of the teachers, and I will actively work with local leaders on the matter."
The controversial incident enraged the public last week when people learned that 21 teachers were enlisted by the Hà Tĩnh’s Hồng Lĩnh Commune People’s Committee as receptionists at a local ví giặm folk song festival back in August.
Many criticised it as an abuse of teachers’ rights.
Higher education focus
Discussing other reforms, Deputy PM Đam said a new approach to higher education was key to improving Vietnamese labour quality.
"Reports from several firms show that over 80 per cent of Vietnamese high-level managers fail to meet job requirements, while about 40 to 60 per cent of technical staff need to be retrained," he said.
"It proves that the quality of higher education and its output are not good enough."
Lagging collegiate quality might also explain why 191,000 undergraduate students were unemployed this year, Minister Nhạ said when he was confronted by Thanh Hóa deputy Cao Thị Xuân and Quảng Trị deputy Hồ Thị Minh over the figure.
"[The ministry] noticed that most of the unemployed undergraduates came from the newly-established or low-ranking universities," Nhạ said.
"We will soon reorganise the current university network and seek support from the VCCI (the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and business firms to retrain the students."
He said that the ministry took responsibility for the students failing to find decent jobs after graduation, a figure that could increase 1.5 times to more than 300,000 by 2020.
Language plan failed
Questioned by the deputy Dương Minh Anh from Hà Nội over the outcomes of the foreign language education master plan 2008-2020, Minister Nhạ admitted that the plan would fail to meet its targets.
The VNĐ9 trillion (US$400 million) plan’s goal was for the majority of Vietnamese college students to gain adequate foreign language skills--with a specific focus on English--by 2020. It aimed to improve language studies at all levels, starting with primary school. The plan already spent about VNĐ5 trillion of taxpayer money, yet many were upset with the extremely low English scores of the national high school graduation exam last year. More than 88 per cent of the students taking part in the exam had scores below 5 on a 10-point grading scale.
Nhạ said that the ministry was rechecking the master plan, initiated under the then-Minister Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, to make proper adjustments in the near future. The changes will especially focus on training more English teachers for localities to fill in the shortage gap, which seriously undermined English teaching efficiency and the plan’s broader outcomes. — VNS