Where should Vietnam start education renovation?

VietNamNet Bridge – Ton Nu Thi Ninh, who has been well known in Vietnam as an experienced diplomat, the former Deputy Chair of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and now the Chair of the Foundation Council of the Tri Viet (Vietnamese intelligence), said that the education renovation process should be started with reforms in the primary and secondary education and university education.

What are your assessments about the position of Vietnam’s education in the world’s education map?

If compared with developing countries, general education in Vietnam is relatively developed. The number of Vietnamese literate people is relatively high.

However, if looking deeply into the issue, we can see that Vietnam is lagging behind, or it cannot catch up with its demand or with the socio-economic development of the country. Regarding university education, we are still lacking universities. Moreover, the problem not only lies in the number of schools, but also in the quality of education and social responsibility. Vietnam needs more high quality universities.

So, if Vietnam wants to reform its education, where should it start?

I think that we should start from renovating the primary and secondary education and university education. The thing that needs to be changed is the teaching method. An out-of-date pedagogical method will not be able to stimulate creativity, independent thinking and the self-confidence of children. In order to upgrade the university education, it is necessary to upgrade the primary and secondary education.

Some people may argue that Vietnam’s education is very good as many Vietnamese students win high prizes at international Olympiads. However, the number of such students is very low. These students gained high achievements because they are too excellent and they are eager for learn, not because of Vietnam’s education. If Vietnam’s education can be upgraded, I believe that the number of students to obtain high prizes will even be higher.

A recent survey shows that up to 60 percent of Vietnamese workers do not have necessary skills. What are the solutions for these unskilled laborers?

This is the responsibility of the Vietnamese Government and the State. I have to add that even the young laborers who finish universities, also cannot fulfill their positions well right after the graduation. In many cases, the university graduates also need retraining. Therefore, employers need to invest and train laborers to help them get adapted to their jobs.

However, “a hungry belly has no ears” – I mean in order to have good training, we ourselves will have to heavily invest in training and not rely on employers.

In general, employers do not want to spend money on training, because it is costly. However, the problem would be settled if the State has a mechanism to encourage employers to do that. For example, the enterprises which contribute to training would be given preferences in labor recruitment. A consensus should be reached between the two parties. In France, this has been legalized. French businesses have to pay one percent of their turnover to fund the retraining of its employees. In Vietnam, now not the right time for us to apply the policy. However, it is necessary to stipulate that labor training must be the common responsibility of the three parties, the state, employers and laborers.

Is there any education model for Vietnam to follow?

Let’s talk about university education. Vietnam is a very original and specific case. There is no university in the world which has only one major, most of them have different majors. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, we have turned one faculty into a “great faculty” or a university. This comes contrary to the tendency in modern sciences.

Besides, the way of combining some universities in two biggest cities in Vietnam (Hanoi and HCM City) to have multi-field universities is also problematic. However, I can say that it will be very difficult to settle the problem. Now state- owned schools need to be established in a new way, while private run schools must be set up in a right way and they must have long term visions.

Source: Dau tu