The Hà Nội University of Science and Technology is among universities which have been granted self-autonomy in Việt Nam. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Anh Dũng
Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ talks with Tuổi Trẻ
(Youth) newspaper about his plan to grant more universities autonomous rights
Last year, you said your priorities were to complete a national educational policy and a human resources development plan. It seems that education has taken priority, is that right?
As head of the education sector, the first thing I care about is developing it. I issued instructions about how to make the policy a reality and monitor how it was implemented. If any shortcomings were detected, I would come up with measures to fix them. In the past few years, the ministry has consulted with experts and listened carefully to their suggestions to make the policy more workable.
Can you tell us more about the implementation of Resolution No.29 on the comprehensive renewal of the education sector?
The main idea of Resolution No.29 is to comprehensively renew the education and training sector to meet national requirements in the course of international integration. The ministry has come up with 49 scientific topics, of which seven focus on educational policies and mechanisms to put the country on a par with friends far and near. In the course of writing these topics, we consulted foreign experts. Worthy of note, two important laws developed by the Ministry of Education and Training were adopted by the National Assembly in 2018 and in 2019.
What’s about staff in the education sector?
I always tell myself that teachers are my close companions. Without them I could not do my job. I have adopted policies that are in favour of the teachers, particularly for their salaries and other incentive policies.
What big changes is the ministry planning in 2020?
Again, I always tell myself that I have to be a close companion of teachers and their efforts to make the education sector more successful. I promise to do my best to help improve their livelihoods and make them feel that the schools are their homes and raise their salaries to be on a par with other civil servants with the same qualifications.
I have selected the two most important tasks to be implemented in 2020.
First, to implement the new teaching and learning programmes.
Second, to make autonomy in tertiary education a reality.
In the course of implementing the first task, the Ministry of Education and Training will work closely with local authorities to make sure the task is accomplished.
Regarding the second task, the establishment of university councils and teaching programmes would help.
How will you deal with universities that underperform?
Many Vietnamese universities are small and their teaching equipment and facilities do not meet national standards. In recent years, some universities have switched to financial self-autonomy. That means their budget mostly leans on revenue collected from students’ tuition fees. This requires the university management board to focus more on raising teaching quality to attract more students.
In 2019, the MOET already submitted to the Prime Minister two proposals on mergers or dissolving public universities. Meanwhile, we have encouraged more private universities to establish themselves here. If our proposals are approved, a bright future is awaiting the education sector. — VNS