Vietnam's education minister told a conference in Hanoi on Tuesday that While Vietnam’s higher education system is developing rapidly, the education ministry’s management is not keeping pace.
Nguyen Thien Nhan, Minister of Education and Training, said that since 1987 the number of tertiary schools in the country has increased from 101 to 376.
“To check if the schools are abiding by regulations on education management, the ministry inspects two schools every week and it will take three years to complete the task,” he said.
Furthermore, the ministry’s management of the system is yet to change. It takes charge of most matters without giving schools proper rights to operate independently, or delegating supervisory tasks to local authorities.
According to Duong Ai Phuong, president of Ho Chi Minh City University of Sciences, giving schools more independence is a must if the ministry wants to improve the quality of education.
Deputy PM and Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan said during the conference that the ministry has agreed to allow institutions to have greater independence. Following the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also asked the ministry to review legal framework in tertiary management to grant financial power to institutions.
In addition, the rapid expansion of higher education has raised concerns about the quality of education with the availability of qualified teachers coming under question. Over the past 22 years the number of students has gone up 13 times while the number of teachers has only tripled, according to ministry statistics.
Experts said at the conference that the quality of teaching has also fallen due to the fact that there are fewer doctorate holders. They account for nearly 13.8 percent of the total compared to 14.3 percent two years ago.
There are only 320 professors nationwide, according to the ministry.
“Some schools even lack lecturers with decent experience and expertise, and therefore have no ability to prepare syllabi for their teaching programs,” said Tran Thi Ha, director general of the ministry's Higher Education Department.
The ministry aims to have 90 percent of tertiary schools complete self-estimation reports by 2010, and 80 percent to have their teaching programs audited by qualified organizations.
Nhan has set a target of building an advanced education system by 2020 to meet the human resource demands of the country's modernising economy.
Higher education management lagging behind: MoET, 26 August 2009,
Universities urged to meet international standards, 26 August 2009,
Vietnamese PM Asks Universities To Attain International Level, 26 August 2009,