High-quality vocational training schools failing to attract students

Update: April, 08/2016 - 10:45
Students practise at a vocational training school. Many vocational training schools equipped with modern machinery and study tools worth billions of đồng are facing student shortages due to low rates of enrolment. — Photo

HÀ NỘI – Many vocational training schools equipped with modern machinery and study tools worth billions of đồng are facing student shortages due to low rates of enrolment. 

Many classrooms have been left unused, representing a large waste in these schools.

The Hanoi Electromechanical Vocational Training College in Hà Nội’s Mai Dịch Road is one such example. Last year, the school invested US$3 million to buy study equipment and another VNĐ11 billion ($493,350) to improve teaching quality at the school.

Previously, in 2014, the school was given VNĐ14 billion ($627,900) to buy modern equipment and VNĐ20 billion ($897,000) to build infrastructure. Within two years, the school has become one of the most high-quality vocational schools in the country with a series of modern machinery that can be used at large-sized enterprises. A welding machine, for instance, is worth up to VNĐ5 billion ($224,250).

However, the school remains deserted and many vocational training classes are yet to be opened.

Đồng Văn Ngọc, rector of the school said that the school found it hard to attract students to enroll.

In 2014, there were about 1,200 students enrolled at the school. Last year, the number rose slightly to 1,236. Yet the training capacity of the school was 3,000 students.

Although the school committed to refund the school fees of graduates who could not find a job, and as many as 50 enterprises co-operated with the school to create jobs for graduates, enrollment was still a problem, he said.

The Hà Nội Vocational College of High Technology is facing a similar situation. Established in 2009, the school has invested roughly VNĐ200 billion ($8.9 million) to buy machinery and equipment for 20 professional practices.

With modern facilities in Hà Nội’s Từ Liêm District, the school was expected to attract about 6,000 students per academic year.

However, after five years of operation, Phạm Xuân Khánh, rector of the school, said a shortage of students remained a big problem in spite of the school’s efforts.

In the early years, the school only attracted about 1,000 students each year. Last year, the school took a series of measures such as speaking to students at high schools about the college and working with dozens of businesses to assure 90 per cent of graduates would have jobs. The number of enrolled students increased modestly to 2,000.

“Worse, about 500 students dropped out during the training process,” he said.

“Many tools have never been used as we don’t have the students”.

Last year, Nguyễn Hoàng Phương, rector of HCM City-based Hoàn Cầu Vocational College sent a petition to the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to close down the school. The school only trained 100 students in 2011 and the number reduced even further in following years.

Cao Văn Sâm, deputy director of the General Department of Vocational Training said that many private vocational schools ended up closing down and hundreds of public vocational schools were forced to integrate.

The reason, Sâm said, was that vocational schools could not compete with universities, especially when many universities now only reviewed transcripts for enrollment as many vocational schools did.      

Sâm said the idea of going to a university at all costs instead of applying for a vocational school that suited the students’ ability also worsened the situation.

“Students should focus on what brings them a job”, he said, adding that in recent years, thousands of unemployed university graduates have turned to vocational training to get a job.

Figures from the General Department of Vocational Training showed that there are approximately 190 vocational colleges and 245 vocational centres. However, the enrollment numbers did not meet their training capacity with less than two million students enrolled in these school last year. -- VNS