Private universities’ status is changing as standards go up
VietNamNet Bridge - Private universities in the past were often considered inferior to state-owned schools, but that image has changed in recent years. 


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There are 66 private schools out of 235 universities



Nationwide, there are 66 private schools out of total 235 universities with 243,000 students, accounting for 14 percent of total students. The private universities have been developing rapidly in the last 30 years, since the day the government began calling for private investment in the educational sector. 

Nationwide, there are 66 private schools out of total 235 universities with 243,000 students, accounting for 14 percent of total students. The private universities have been developing rapidly in the last 30 years, since the day the government began calling for private investment in the educational sector. 

At a conference held 10 years ago, the picture was gloomy, however. The schools had poor facilities, a low number of lecturers, and difficulties in enrollment. 

At that time, the schools had to rent premises for lecture halls and laboratories and each school had several campuses because they could not find the land plots large enough for all faculties. They also had to ‘borrow’ lecturers from state-owned schools. A report said the number of borrowed lecturers amounted to 80 percent.

However, the latest survey by the Ministry of Education and Training headed by Dr Pham Thi Huyen found a different situation. 

Many private schools have good facilities in which their students can take pride. The conditions in some schools are even better than those in state-owned schools, which still receive financial support from the state.

Regarding the teaching staff, private schools have shown considerable improvement in quantity and quality. Many schools have 700-1,000 lecturers, which far exceed some state owned schools. They also have been developing into multi-disciplinary schools.

The biggest achievement of the private university network is its rapid expansion in recent years with private schools now available not only in large cities, but throughout the country. 

The latest survey of the education ministry found that most private schools are practice and application oriented, with 43 out of 59 reported schools having laboratories and practice workshops.

The average investment rate is VND8.6 billion for each laboratory and VND6.5 billion for workshops.

Of three Vietnamese universities recognized by a British organization as meeting 3-star standards in facilities, two are private, FPT University and Nguyen Tat Thanh University.

Some private schools have huge investments of VND1-2 trillion, including Nguyen Tat Thanh, Nam Can Tho and Van Lang. 

The number of internationally published scientific articles is one of the reasons that have helped change people’s minds about the role and capacity of private schools. Duy Tan University was among the top universities in Vietnam in the number of articles published in prestigious journals in 2018.

The chair of Dong A University, Nguyen Anh Dao, said, with 243,000 students and the average expense of VND20 million per student per annum, the state can save VND2.43 trillion on tertiary education.


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Kim Chi

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