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Vietnam Human Resource: Education and Training
Tools to Tune up Economic Engine


vietnam human resource
Education in Vietnam is much in need of investment by the government.  Infrastructure, modernizing and strengthening of curriculum, increased training of professors, administrators and staff is all badly needed.  This need has not gone unnoticed by investors and developing private education opportunities is one of the most promising new investment areas in Vietnam.  Most Vietnamese view education as a life long goal and a goal that the whole family will often join together and sacrifice to ensure that some if not all of their children can gain a better education than their parents achieved.  This cultural trait is one that many foreigners have noted and now it is becoming a trend that investors are reaching out to support.  Early investors from Australia, the U.S. and other nations see profit in helping Vietnam to increase educational opportunities.


Current Type of School Ownership in Vietnam


- Public: the government invests in school's facility and cover schools regular operational expenses

- Semi-public: The government invests in school's facility and the school itself covers its regular operational expenses

- People-Founded: the school itself invests in school's facility and covers its expenses, under patronization of a socio-economic orgaization

- Private: the school's facility and regular expenses are covered by an indicidual or a group


Aim for 2010


- 30% students going to non-public universities (50 universities)

- Joint-venture and 100% foreign invested university'college/training center are encouraged

- step-by-step "privatized" most of small and medium public universities.

- Give schools more autonomy and accountability in setting enrolment level, tuition fees, etc.

Source: Presentation of Dean Thu Gia Huang of Hanoi University

Dean Thu Gia Huang of Hanoi University, in 2007, presented at the Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, USA, important points on opportunities for higher education in Vietnam that Vietnamese culture always values education and people are willing to invest in education; moreover,  the goverment recognized the importance of education in making the country grow and develop.  The current fast development of Vietnam's economic development and advanced development of information and communication technology in Vietnam also helps accelelate the improvement in education. However, Dean Thu also pointed out the chalenges facing higher education and training in Vietnam are as follows:


  Challenges facing higher education and training in Vietnam:


- Globalization opens for competition in all sectors, especially in a service industry like education.
- Issues rooted in Vietnam education hisory and Russian-style university model (mono-disciplinary and separation between research and teaching)
- Vietnam is moving toward an industrial and knowledge economy which create a huge demand for skilled and professional workforce.
- Complicated administrative systems in which line ministries and local government have control over personnel and financial matters while Minister of Education and Technology (MOET) have control over educational administration.
- Imbalances in the education system (level of education, mode of education, and between different regions)
- Slow progress in decentralization process giving higher education institutes more autonomy and accountablility.
- Low ability to attract investment for education:
Low and declining level of investment from State's budget
Low level of investment from society
- Teachers' salary and benefits are not market driven
- Prodcuts of education is of low quality compared to the level of ASEAN countries and not aligned to the needs of the labor market.
- University aministrators are chosen from good professors but most of  them lack knoledge and managerial skills neded to do their job well
- Insufficient quantity and quality of teaching staff
- The contents and teaching methodology is slowly modernized
- Poor facilities (buildings, teaching resources, labs, library)
- Financial shortage for teaching and research activities



Source: Presentation of Dean Thu Gia Huang of Hanoi University

Ms Susan Schran, Dean of IMPAC University from the US spoke with Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) this year about its MBA program in Vietnam.  Ms. Schran's commented that one of the challenges for Vietnam’s education sector is the continuous evaluation and strengthening of the quality of the programs provided and the co-operation it has with foreign universities. 

She suggested that the disciplines of study that could be Vietnam’s strengths in the future are Business Administration, Finance and Banking, Public Administration, and Civil Engineering.



How can Vietnam improve education and training?


The UNDP Human Development Report 2006 launched recently, reported in the Vietnam Economic Review, suggested some of the ways to improve education and training:

- The government can help firms acquire this knowledge through public sector research institutions and through government programs that link up private sector universities and research institutes to domestic and foreign companies.


- A vital component of national technology policy is the development of world-class universities and research institutes, both to train engineers, scientists and managers, and to create domestic research and development capacity.

- Overseas education can contribute to the development of domestic capacity. For example, there are as many Asian PhD students enrolled in the engineering departments of US universities as there are American students, and many of these Asian scholars will return to their home countries to take up teaching and research jobs once they have completed their degrees. Policies are needed to attract more of these highly skilled technologists back home.

- Paying higher salaries at national universities and research institutes. Also, Professors and researchers need world-class laboratory facilities and working environments that place a premium on excellence and achievement. Universities and research institutes also need autonomy to work without interference and to respond quickly to demand from industry. Technology policy must also reduce the cost of acquiring knowledge to domestic firms. Competitiveness in technology-intensive industries comes from highly specialised knowledge, and this knowledge is often too expensive for small firms acting alone.






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