Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha answers lawmakers' questions on June 6 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) will classify universities and give them autonomy to improve tertiary education of Vietnam, Minister Phung Xuan Nha told National Assembly deputies on June 6.

At the question and answer session of the fifth session of the 14th-tenure parliament, deputy Mai Thi Phuong Hoa of Nam Dinh province asked about the position of Vietnam’s tertiary education, noting that only five of nearly 300 universities in the country are listed in the Asia university rankings.

Nha admitted the fact that though some schools and groups of majors have good performance, the quality of Vietnam’s tertiary education is basically low and has yet to meet the labour market’s demand, especially amid Industry 4.0. 

He pointed out outdated curricula which teachers built mainly basing on their knowledge and forecast instead of the market’s demand. Meanwhile, the rate of doctoral degree holders at universities remains low, about 22–23 percent as compared to 40–50 percent in other countries around the world, Nha said.

A lack of infrastructure qualified for high-quality scientific researches and low tuition fees have also hampered tertiary education quality, the minister added.

Universities will be classified in the time ahead so as to maintain those with high quality and seek ways to improve or even dissolve low-quality schools, he said, noting that the MoET will suggest the Government invest in key universities and the majors they are strong at.

According to the minister, a shortage of autonomy is also a bottleneck hindering universities’ efforts to promote their activeness, creativity and internal strength, so the MoET will provide autonomy for universities in the coming time.

In response to some lawmakers’ question about the settlement of poor performing schools, Nha said the MoET has classified universities and unqualified schools must work to raise their quality. If they fail, they will be merged with other schools or dissolved.

The ministry also issued some relevant circulars, including one on tightening doctoral training requirements, he noted.

Pointing out a fact that an increasing number of Vietnamese students have gone abroad to study, deputy Nguyen Van Than of Thai Binh province questioned Minister Nha about solutions to attract investment in tertiary education.

The minister noted that a big number of Vietnamese students have been studying abroad and they have spent about 3 – 4 billion USD on their learning and research activities each year. The MoET advised the Government to have policies to encourage private investment in tertiary education, and many big enterprises have invested in this field, he said.

State budget is prioritised for general education and disadvantaged areas. The State is still responsible for high-quality education, but it also has high hope for private investment to have advanced curricula and ensured quality, he said, adding that this will help increase the private sector’s contributions to high-quality education and ease pressure on the State.-VNA