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Despite High Enrolments, Vietnamese Universities Offer Low Quality Education


SAIGON (AsiaNews) – Many Vietnamese universities and institutes are unable to guarantee an adequate education despite rising enrolment of new students.

The teaching staff, especially faculty members (giảng viên cơ hữu), tend to be underqualified and are unable to meet student needs, this according to an assessment by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training.

Government figures show that in the 2016-2017 academic year, the country had 235 universities, 170 public and 65 private. In addition, there are 37 scientific research institutes with graduate programs.

In 2017, with a total of 184 undergraduate degrees, Vietnam trained 105,801 students who obtained specialist bachelor’s degrees and 15,112 who earned a PhD.

In that same academic year, Vietnamese universities had 72,792 lecturers, including 16,514 with a PhD and 43,050 with a master’s degree.

However, according to experts, Vietnam’s educational system is held back by old problems: Universities are unconnected to the job markets.

Teaching tends to focus only on theory, keeping students away from the real world, uninterested in what businesses need. The net effect is that many new graduates cannot find jobs.

Figures for 2017 show that around 200,000 young graduates with a bachelor’s degree remained unemployed.

What is more, most universities tend to hire recent graduates to meet teacher shortages. For Prof Châu, this is a mistake that “has been going on for 40 years.”

“Many universities organize programs in a rather arbitrary way,” some lecturers from Saigon told AsiaNews. “When rectors or deans can’t find a lecturer for an undergraduate course, they remove it from the program. At the same time, they allow a state lecturer to include his or her.”

“The result is that theory prevails over practice and young teachers use outdated teaching methods. The educational system of Vietnamese universities is affected by several complex issues, which we have to solve.

“Whilst the government continues to open universities, colleges, institutes, there are not enough capable and prepared lecturers. As a result, the educational system is becoming weak and less and less competitive.”

Many students say they have very little confidence in the country’s education system. “We are not happy to go to class. We do not know what we will do after finishing our studies.”

“About a hundred senior students graduated from our program,” bemoaned some female students. “Most of them are unemployed or forced to accept work unrelated to their field of studies. As for our future, we would like to get married first and then figure things out.”