Students at a medical university in Hai Phong City at practicals (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
Nearly 74 percent of the 925,961 candidates taking the upcoming national high school graduation examinations have applied to universities, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.

The most popular courses are educational science and pedagogy, humanities, social and behavioural sciences, journalism and communications, social service, hotel-tourism, environment, and logistics.

However, only 455,174 of them will get entry into universities and colleges, 1.2 percent more than last year, with the rest going to vocational and other schools.

At a press briefing, Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, head of the ministry’s tertiary education department, said the quota for pedagogy was set to be reduced by 38 percent this year.

The high school exam will be held from June 24 to 27, with the scores used for admission to universities, colleges and vocational schools. Entrance exams were scrapped in 2015.

There are 500 colleges and intermediate schools providing two-year training programmes besides 1,974 vocational schools this year. In recent years they have struggled to find enough students.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Directorate of Vocational Training, universities have changed their admission system to take in more candidates, making it difficult for vocational schools.

Last year only 5-7 percent of  junior high school students applied to vocational and intermediate schools though usually 80-90 percent of their students get jobs on graduation.

Worryingly, many colleges were unable to enrol a single student.

To improve things, secondary school students need to be provided counselling on vocational training, the directorate said. 

This year the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City will enrol 15 percent of its candidates from schools for gifted students around the country.

Others such as the HCM City University of Technology and Education and HCM City University of Economics will also give priority to students from gifted schools.

An estimated 4,000 students who won national technology and science contests, and international and ASEAN competitions this year will also get priority in admission.-VNA