Last update 10/18/2010 1:29:22 PM (GMT+7)

Vocational schools avoided

VietNamNet Bridge – High-school students in HCM City remain reluctant to join vocational schools because a promised change in regulations that will allow them to continue their studies in universities has yet to be made.

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A teacher at Hung Vuong Vocation Training and Technology School in HCM City introduces equipment to students. City’s vocational schools find it hard to attract students without regulations that will allow them to continue their studies in universities. (Photo: VNS)

Dr Phan Quang Thai, deputy rector of the Ngoc Phuoc Vocational School in District 12, said only 32 students joined his school in the first nine months though it sent letters to more than 8,000 households in the city and neighbouring provinces.

The school has invested more than VND20 billion (US$1.02 million) in infrastructure and equipment and is operating at a loss, he told a conference held in the city last week to discuss enrolling students in vocational training schools.

The Ministries of Education and Training and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs should soon send the circular they promised nearly five years ago to allow students to continue studying at universities after finishing vocational school, he said.

In the absence of such a regulation, students cannot get a university degree without losing the two years they spend in a vocational school.

"There is no reason not to allow students to further their education at colleges or universities after they graduate from vocational schools," he added. The city’s 52 vocational colleges and schools have enrolled 16,000 students this year, or just two-thirds of the year’s target, according to Le Trong Sang, deputy director of the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

The low salaries paid to trained workers are also discouraging students from joining vocational schools.

Le Van Son, deputy rector of the Vocational School for International Manpower in Tan Binh District, agreed, saying that the city should fix minimum salaries for trained workers.

Financial support should be provided not only to vocational schools but also to students to encourage them to join these schools, he said.

Only students who fail to get through university entrance examinations choose to attend vocational courses, Duong Minh Kien, rector of the Quang Trung Vocational School in Go Vap District, said.

Vocational schools also find it hard to attract qualified teachers due to their low salaries, especially in outlying districts.

Authorities hope to provide vocational training to at least 70 per cent of the workforce by 2015, Sang said, adding that it numbers more than four million now.

The department has tasked the Centre for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information with surveying labour supply and demand, and this will be completed early next year.

The survey will help vocational colleges and schools tailor their courses to meet markets needs.

Last year nearly 21,500 students attended city-run vocational colleges and schools, according to the department.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News