High unemployment rate spurred by explosion of universities

Ngoc Huynh

VietNamNet Bridge – Dozeens of junior colleges (3-year training) have been upgraded into universities (4-5-year training), but the training quality has not matched the expansion.

A Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) report showed that Vietnam had 433 universities and junior colleges by June 2014, including 347 state-owned schools and 86 non-state owned.

According to Dr. Bui Anh Tuan from the ministry, 133 universities and junior colleges were upgraded from junior colleges and intermediate schools (two-year training), respectively, in 2007-2013. Of these, 59 schools were upgraded to junior colleges, and 49 to universities.

Analysts noted that the school upgrading on a mass scale recently was one of the reasons behind the high unemployment rate.
A Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs’ (MOLISA) report showed that 162,000 workers with bachelor’s degrees had remained unemployed as of mid-2014.

Professor Nguyen Minh Duong, member of the National Council for Education and Human Resources, said that local authorities want to establish universities, while school leaders want to upgrade their schools to gain a higher position and prestige in the educational system.

The multi-level education system will help them find more students, and therefore, make bigger profits.

Analysts noted that it is easier for universities to attract students than junior colleges or intermediate schools, because many Vietnamese want to obtain bachelor’s degrees.

Training quality questioned

Training quality at the upgraded schools has fallen behind as the investors’ limited resources have been spread thin.

As a result, investors do not have enough money to upgrade material facilities and teaching staff.

MOET many times has rung the alarm bell over the lack of university lecturers.

Many schools did not have enough university lecturers with the required minimum degree, while many others were found “borrowing” the names of lecturers from other schools.

Dr. Le Viet Khuyen, a former senior official of MOET, noted that the watchdog agency was too lenient when giving licenses to new universities, and that it was not easy to close low-quality schools.

Many schools, which reportedly could not find students over many years, could not be forced to shut down because there was no regulation on the issue.

“It is necessary to set up national standards, i.e., the minimum requirements schools must meet to be established,” Khuyen noted.
MOET’s Minister Pham Vu Luan, while admitting the establishment of many universities in recent years, said there were many weak schools but the educational system has always been in a state of instability and insecurity.

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