University education lags behind in curricula, lecturer quality
VietNamNet Bridge - The low quality of university education is blamed on curricula which focuses on theoretical knowledge and does not provide enough practicum hours. 

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However, it is difficult to reform curricula because of the lack of capable human resources.

Nguyen Manh Hung, rector of Nguyen Tat Thanh, said the key problem lies in the fact that schools cannot be autonomous. As they do not compile curricula themselves, they cannot update knowledge in their lessons provided to students.

“We cram students with old stuff. And it is understandable why university graduates cannot satisfy requirements set by employers,” Hung said.

Mai Hong Quy, rector of HCMC Law University, said the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) said that schools can enjoy autonomy in compiling training programs, but things are different in reality. 

MOET has decided to shorten the training time for degrees to three to five years instead of four to six years at the university level. 
The low quality of university education is blamed on curricula which focuses on theoretical knowledge and does not provide enough practicum hours. 

However, it stipulates that students must fulfill 10 credits in politics, eight credits in national defence education, seven credits in foreign languages and three in physical training. It takes students at least one semester to fulfill the credits, which means that students only have the remaining two to five years to acquire professional knowledge. 

According to Dang Vu Ngoan, former rector of the HCMC Food Industry University, students have many subjects, including subjects which don’t help in their future jobs. 

He went on to say that while many big changes have been made with high education, the university curricula remains ‘stable’ over the last decades. As a result, when entering university, students repeat the subjects they had before at high schools. Meanwhile, students in different majors unnecessarily have some common subjects.

Students of polytechnic schools follow similar curricula. Practice-oriented schools must design more practice and less theoretical hours for their students.

MOET does not set rigid regulations on curriculum framework, but it is not easy for schools to change curricula for many reasons, including limited capability of teaching staff.

The teaching staff’s capacity determines training quality. Analysts believe the teaching staff’s ability is limited, especially in foreign language skills.

At HCMC Law University, Quy said the school sets requirements in foreign language skills. Lecturers must meet the standards, or they won’t have a class. 

The school’s leaders believe that foreign languages can open the door to the world, and lecturers without foreign language skills will be considered ‘illiterate’.

MOET also commented that due to the lack of foreign language skills, lecturers cannot read foreign documents and participate in international activities that serve their work.

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Chi Mai

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