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Citizens express concern over quality of education

Update: March, 08/2012 - 07:20


Teacher Bui Thi Hong demonstrates at the So Kien Kindergarten in Kien Khe Town, Thanh Liem District, Ha Nam Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
HA NOI — Education quality and human resource training were among hot issues raised in yesterday's online dialogue with Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan.

Regarding the quality of human resources, citizens raised the problem that graduates were still finding it hard to find suitable jobs that utilised their skills and knowledge.

Luan said the ministry has instructed universities to adjust their training programmes to better serve the society's needs.

First, the ministry required all universities to perform self-assessments and take responsibility for corrective action. However, small schools with few lecturers and a limited capacity must be assessed by experienced universities entrusted by the ministry, he said.

He added that under the draft education law, assessment of education quality would be compulsory for all universities.

Last year, the ministry inspected the operation of universities and colleges that have been established over the past 10 years and suspended enrolment in four universities found with violations.

The ministry is also inspecting 80 other universities.

"The ministry has issued higher standards for universities to conduct master training and has increased the number of inspections. Last year, the ministry revoked license of more than 100 educational establishments that were not qualified to grant master's or PhD degrees," Luan said.

In another move, the ministry encouraged educational institutions to extend their relations with businesses and other universities both inside and outside the country, in order to improve their curricula and training methods.

Luan also addressed the imbalance in the training sector, saying that the ministry had adopted policies to encourage teachers' engagement in less attractive industries such as agro-forestry, fisheries and education. It would provide each teacher with an allowance of between 25 to 45 per cent of minimum wage depending on his or her education level.

"In particular, teachers in disadvantaged, remote, mountainous and ethnic minority-inhabited areas will receive an allowance rate of up to 70 per cent of the minimum wage," he said.

Students at universities of education would be exempt from tuition fees, the minister said.

Tuition fees for agro-forestry and fisheries education are the lowest among higher training.

Concerning schools in remote and disadvantaged areas, particularly classrooms and houses for teachers, the minister said the Government decided to earmark around VND1.6 trillion (US$76.8 million) for a programme to upgrade education facilities this year.

Luan admitted that there was still a dire shortage of pre-schools which forced parents to queue for hours in order to secure a seat for their children at public schools.

"Existing schools fail to meet the demand, particularly of people living in urban areas," he said.

"Besides, quality differences between schools also creates a tense situation for qualified public schools," he added.

"The ministry has worked with localities nationwide to adopt a common standard for all schools, teachers and education managers, with the hope of reducing the quality difference among education establishments," Luan said.

He responded to questions about the plan to move a number of universities to the suburbs of Ha Noi and HCM City, saying that the ministry would work with target universities and the municipal authorities on this issue.

The ministry had already established criteria for the universities that would be moved and would report to the Prime Minister and deputy Prime Ministers in the near future.

However, Luan admitted that the plan would be difficult to implement because it would require a huge investment of capital. In addition to moving universities, education facilities would have to be built in new areas and the former city locations would have to be transformed into public sites such as parks.

"This is hard math for the two cities and their governments, but we are all actively working to carry out the project," he said. — VNS


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