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Students need vocational training

Update: January, 05/2006 - 00:00

Students need vocational training

(05-01-2006)

Young people in Lao Cai Province receive vocational training. — VNS Photo Hong Hoa

CAO BANG — A new survey shows the urgent need to provide vocational training for secondary school graduates in rural Viet Nam to stop students from wasting their time and money pursuing inappropriate tertiary education and to narrow the skills gap in agriculture.

The survey by the Education and Training Ministry’s Vocational Labour Centre in 11 poor northern, central and southern provinces shows that while agriculture accounts for 71 per cent of their economy, skilled workers hover at a mere 20 per cent.

As a result, both productivity and average incomes are low – the highest per capita earnings among the provinces is just US$400 a year.

The survey concludes that the change in the economic structure, especially in agriculture, of Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Son La, Quang Ngai, Gia Lai, Dac Lac, Kon Tum, Dong Thap, Bac Lieu, and Ca Mau provinces has not matched potential.

About 800,000 of the students who graduate from Viet Nam’s secondary schools each year sit entrance exams for tertiary institutions but only between 20 and 30 per cent pass.

Another 20 per cent of the graduates make vocational school their first choice.

Those who fail to win places at colleges and universities then find themselves bewildered as they attempt to find work.

The practice is also expensive and the 11 poor provinces are no exception to the ensuing waste.

Yet many provinces already invest in vocational training.

For example, southern Dong Thap Province has had 54 training centres that help more than 20,000 labours each year, about half of them rural dwellers.

But the ministry’s survey shows that numerous secondary-school graduates have yet to receive vocational training.

The survey also identifies a widening gap between the desire for learning among students measured against their capacity and financial circumstances.

Although it is difficult with neither the aptitude nor financial capacity to undertake higher learning, 90 per cent of them aspire to universities, colleges and vocational schools while unemployable labour remains a major cause of poverty.

It will be impossible for the 11 poorer provinces to steadily alleviate poverty if they are not be able to deploy labour in addition to the appropriate restructure of their economies.

Vocational Labour Centre director Nguyen Hung says his ministry will do its best to provide a panoramic picture about the demand for vocational guidance in the surveyed provinces.

The picture will conform with their socio-economic development as well as the capabilities of their students.

The centre will also provide concrete vocational training programmes for female students as well as those in difficult circumstance and minority students in the 11 provinces.

Secondary education development project executive director Tran Nhu Tinh, says provinces that are beneficiaries from the project will be provided with the expenditure and professional advice necessary to meet the demand for vocational training.

It is hoped to have a vocational training network in the 11 provinces by the end of this year. — VNS

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