|Students at Tôn Đức Thắng University, one of the first 23 higher education institutions in the county given autonomy under a pilot programme begun in 2015. — VNA/VNS Photo Phương Vy|
Nguyễn Thị Kim Phụng, director general of the Department of Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education and Training, talks to Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic & Urban Affairs) newspaper about the new law to help universities be more dynamic and creative.
What’re the new points contained in the Revised Law on Tertiary Education?
The Revised Law on Tertiary Education which was recently approved by the full house meeting of the National Assembly contains 4 groups of new policies. The first, and also the most important group or cluster group, deals with the expansion and higher autonomy granted to the whole system. Second, it is about the change in university administration and the university council. With this change, the university council will have the highest power in the university, particularly the right to appoint the Rector and other senior positions. In addition, the university council will be the person to make the final decision on the university’s development strategy and its major investment decisions.
Third, the law lays emphasis on the development of a system of universities offering different disciplinaries and others. When the system is in place, universities can share their resources together in the course of their development toward the final goal, i.e to raise Vietnamese university standards to a higher ranking internationally.
And the last, the Law pays high regards to the development of private universities side by side with public universities.
Will you please talk a bit in detail about the autonomy roadmap for universities?
When the law comes into force, universities can make their own decisions and take full responsibility for what they are doing. The highest objective is to make Vietnamese universities be on par with their foreign peers.
Under the law, all universities are allowed to make their own decisions on what discipline they will offer to their students or to recruit senior personnel when they feel the need to do so.
Under the new law, universities are granted the rights to decide what disciplinaries they will offer to their students. But, a very important rule I have to mention is that before making their decision to offer any new disciplinary they have to satisfy all the criterion which are written in the Law on Higher Education, particularly the conditions on the market requirement of that disciplinary and the inner capacity of the university, including the teaching staff and the training program.
Last but not least, for the university to open a new discipline, it needs the approval of a Committee comprising members from different sectors in the society, including the University Council members and representatives from other agencies, including social activists and scientists. At least 30 per cent of participants attending such a meeting is non-staff of the university. The purpose of inviting these people to the meeting is to hear their comments on whether the university has sufficient conditions to launch new disciplines or if the disciplines will help address the need of the society, so on and so forth.
The revised Law on Higher Education will come into force on July 1st 2019. Has the Ministry of Education and Training prepared conditions to put the law into practice?
During the period of drafting the revised law, we already started developing guiding documents on how to implement the law once it is approved by the National Assembly. Right now we have already drafted two Decrees – one Decree on how to implement the new revised Law on Higher Education and the other Decree on the University Autonomy.
So, by now we can say that everything is almost ready for the G Day! — VNS