One of the goals of the Human Resources Development Strategy of Vietnam for the period of 2011-2020 is "to build up a system of advanced, modern and diversified human training facilities and an integrated and multi-level career structure among the national and international training institutions in different levels and to create high-quality vocational schools, of which five schools will meet the international standards by 2015 and more than 10 schools will be world-class schools by 2020". However, conducting vocational training in Vietnam is not a simple task. Insight from Vietnam Business Forum.

Quality of vocational training does not meet the need

According to Cao Van Sam from the General Department of Vocational Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (Molisa), as of July 31 2013, there were 158 vocational colleges (117 public schools and 41 non-public schools), 304 vocational high schools (205 public schools and 99 non-public schools), 870 vocational training centres (542 public schools and 328 non-public schools); and the total number of trainees was 1,493,379. The skills of the graduates of vocational training institutions have been improved.

According to the employers, 80 - 85 percent of the trainees from the vocational training schools could meet the training requirements and 30 percent of them have vocational skills at medium level and more. The number of teachers and lecturers of the vocational schools in 2012 is 39,260 and the number of teachers of the vocational high schools and colleges is 25,151.

Many vocational colleges and high schools have established career service centres providing career orientation and counseling service for trainees to choose right jobs and create networks with businesses and employers, proactively giving the enrollment consultancy in many different forms and consulting the candidates to find jobs through job fairs and job exchange market.

Sam said that one of breakthroughs in the quality development of the vocational trainings in recent years is that the Molisa has adopted a set of comprehensive occupational programmes and curriculum, providing training for teachers and lecturers and strengthening the evaluation methods on the quality of vocational trainings such as the inspection of the quality of the vocational training institutions and the pilot evaluation model of the vocational trainings and skills of the trainees.

The Ministry is also sorting out and expanding the network of the vocational training institutions with 40 public schools selected for investment to be high quality vocational schools in 2020. It will select 26 professional vocational schools qualified at international level, 34 schools at the ASEAN level and 130 schools at the national level for a focused investment. In 2012, the Ministry received eight transferred vocational training programmes from Malaysia and is preparing necessary conditions to pilot eight new vocational programmes in the selected training institutions. It is expected that there will be new transferred 16 international vocational training programmes from Australia and the teachers will be sent abroad to improve the knowledge and training skills.

However, Sam admitted that although the quality of the training programmes has been improved, it has not met the needs of the skills of the labour market such as soft skills, and teamwork skills. The skills and capacity of the Vietnamese workers still have a big gap compared with other developed countries in the region and around the world. Besides, the investment in the job trainings is still limited and the training facilitates and equipment of the vocational training institutions are still deficient.

There is still a number of vocational teachers not qualified for the pedagogical requirements; the structure of the vocational trainings and the training levels are not reasonable and closely associated with the manpower needs of each industry and each region; the quality of trainees has not met the needs of high-skilled labour for manufacturing and for labour market, the curriculum of vocational training has not been regularly updated and supplemented to deal with the changes in manufacturing techniques and technology.

Focusing on an integrated system of programmes, curriculum, facilities and equipment

The vocational development strategy in the period of 2011 to 2020 mentions the targets of 2020, of which the vocation training programmes will meet the needs of the labour market in terms of quantity, quality and occupational structure and qualifications; the quality of some professions will meet the standards of the developed countries; the group of skilled employees will be formed to contribute to the competitiveness of the country; the jobs are described to the workers, contributing the restructuring of the labour market and raising incomes and reducing poverty firmly to ensure the social securities.

According to the General Department of Vocational Training, to fulfill these above-mentioned targets, Vietnam needs to create breakthroughs in the quality of the vocational training. The key jobs at the international, regional and national levels will be identified and selected for an investment in programmes, curriculum, teachers, and training facilities and equipment to improve the quality of vocational training and job orientation at the regional and international levels.

Accordingly, there are needs to renew the government's management of the vocational training institutions, improve the legal system, mechanism and policies on the vocational training and management, promote the application of information technology in vocational training and management, improve the quality of teachers, training managers of the key vocational training institutions to meet the standards, reorganise the training institutions, provide training programmes for vocational teachers and standardise the training managers.

On the other hand, according to the General Department of Vocational Training, Vietnam should study to build up the national vocational qualifications framework. The focuses will be on developing the programmes and curriculum for the key jobs, designing and promulgating the national programmes and curriculum based on the national standards of the vocational skills and using and editing the vocational training curriculum of the developed countries in the ASEAN region and other developed countries to match with the requirements of the labour market at national, regional and international levels.

To enhance the training facilities and equipment, the investment should focus on types of jobs; for the national key jobs, the focus should be on constructing and promulgating the standards of training facilities and equipments while for other jobs at the regional and international levels, the focuses should be on the receiving and application of the training facilities and lists of standards of the facilities and equipments from the developed countries in ASEAN and rest of the world as well as the construction of the equipment portfolio for the vocational trainings at elementary level.

In particular, according to Sam, Vietnam should pay more attention to create a linkage between the vocational training institutions and employers in the labour market with involvement of the businesses, which now should be responsible for providing the information relating to the job requirements and creating an information system to connect the training programme with the requirements of the labour market.-VNA