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Vocational schools need autonomy

Update: January, 17/2017 - 08:00
A vocational training centre in HCM City’s Nhà Bè District. Deputy PM Đam said yesterday that vocational training schools should be autonomous to improve their quality. — Photo nguoilaodong.com.vn
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam yesterday said vocational training schools need to be made autonomous to improve their quality.

“We are determined to [give them] autonomy,” he told a conference on reforming and improving the quality of vocational education in HCM City yesterday.

There are only three autonomous vocational training schools, and “they have really become better in one year thanks to autonomy”.

Once a school gets autonomy it can decide on its own to create new streams and is free to hire personnel, he said.

In any case, funding for State vocational schools would not be maintained forever, he said.

Currently, they get a subsidy of VNĐ10 billion (US$448,000) a year.

“However, some of them enroll only a few dozen. It is impossible to accept,” Đam said.

In future, when many of the schools become autonomous, they would have to find ways to improve their quality to attract students, he said.

Quality assessment of the schools should also be strengthened, he said.

“The second key to improving vocational schools is to closely co-operate with enterprises. I will not hesitate to allow schools to open workshops or laboratories in their campuses in co-operation with enterprises. This will help their students learn practically.”

Thirty four vocational training curriculums have been obtained from countries with high-quality vocational training, and they will be used in 45 schools, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Đam said more and more schools should benefit from them.

Fail to enroll

The ministry reported that the number of students enrolling has been falling in the last five years and failing to meet the target.

It blamed the trend on poor facilities and equipment at the schools, failure to update their training programmes and shortage of lecturers with practical experience.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bùi Văn Ga said technological changes in production, especially the fourth industrial revolution, have severely affected the labour market.

It means more and more machines are used in production, reducing the chances of students graduating from vocational schools to get jobs, he said.

“After graduating, they find it difficult to find employment meaning vocational schools fail to attract students.”

Only schools that have tourism, nursing, pharmacy and kindergarten teachers training attract a large number of students, he said.

“When they do not get students, how can they improve quality?”

Other delegates at the conference said many small and medium-sized and foreign-invested enterprises prefer to hire untrained workers so that they can pay low wages.

This is also a reason why students from vocational schools cannot get jobs, they added.

Even if they do get jobs, their salaries cannot match university graduates’ and so not many people want to go to vocational schools.

Lương Văn Tiến, rector of the College of Industry and Construction, said there should be careful planning with respect to vocational schools.

Schools with insufficient facilities and low enrollment should “shift from this kind of undertaking to another”, he said. —VNS

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