New curricula for vocational training schools hinh anh 1Hands-on training is offered at Hung Vuong Technology School in HCM City’s District 5. (Photo: VNA) 

HCM City (VNA) - Vocational training schools are revamping their curricula and offering new training majors in an attempt to stem the decline in the number of students applying to the schools.

As of last year, there were 1,467 private and public vocational training schools and more than 1,000 other establishments with vocational training courses, a 3.5-fold increase compared to 2010.

Speaking at a recent workshop on staff for industrial parks and export processing zones, Nguyen Thi Hang, Rector of HCM City Vocational College of Technology, said the school had launched a new training major in water supply, sewage and waste water treatment to meet demand of enterprises for qualified personnel.

In 2013, the college invited German experts and HCM City water supply and sewage companies to set up the training major.

Occupational criteria for skills in sewage and waste water treatment were established last year.

Twenty students signed up for the major last year.

To ensure jobs for the students, the college has signed agreements with five water supply and sewage companies in southern provinces, including Binh Duong and Dong Nai, as well as HCM City.

Le Anh Duc, Rector of Dong Nai College of High Technology, said the college had plans to offer training in industrial waste water treatment.

“We will train students for future jobs. Unnecessary lessons which focus too much on theory will be eliminated,” he said.

The college has asked enterprises to assess the quality of the vocational school graduates who are hired.

Staff hired with training at vocational schools will be paid higher salaries than those without training.

This will be an incentive for staff and prospective students to attend vocational school.

“Having more enterprises work with us is the best way to advertise the school’s brand name,” Duc added.

About 129 local and foreign enterprises are taking part in the college’s training programmes.

Enterprises provide counselling on what the college should change, and explain their work culture and industrial hygiene requirements.

For electronics, electricity, mechanics and other training majors, companies offer practical courses at company workshops.

The enterprises are members of the college’s eight advisory boards for vocational quality, which are in charge of training assessment.

In 2014, the college was selected to attend a human resource programme for Japanese enterprises at a supporting industry complex in Dong Nai Province.

The province’s Technical Human Resource Training Centre, managed by the Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority, chose the college for the programme, in cooperation with the Kansai Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The college sent its lecturers to Japan for additional training.

“Students are trained in Japanese enterprises’ work culture, Japanese language, and labour safety,” Duc said.

The Pacific Resource Exchange Centre in Osaka has helped the college set up flexible training programmes for majors that meet enterprises’ demands.

“The college’s stable enrollment is the result of this collaboration, while other vocational schools and even universities still find it difficult to do,” he said, adding that the college enrolled 700 to 1,000 students each year.

Offering tuition assistance has also helped attract students.

In 2013, for example, the Vietnam National Coal/Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Ltd increased tuition aid to untrained workers to attend the Vietnam Vocational College of Coal and Minerals.

However, even though their housing and tuition was paid by the corporation, the college still found it difficult to attract enough students because of the fear of accidents and a hazardous working environment.

Nguyen Van Vu, Deputy Head of the Dong Nai College of High Technology’s Training Department, said that the college and province had preferential policies on providing tuition for secondary school graduates who have a provincial residential book.

Students with financial difficulties can receive scholarships or tuition exemption.

Duc of Dong Nai College of Technology said that high school teachers could help students decide on pursuing vocational school or university.

Occupational counselling should be carried out at secondary schools in addition to high schools, he said.

A study conducted by Le Thi Ngoc Thuong of HCM City University of Education found that counselling was offered to 12th graders only.

Agreeing with Thuong, many students who were surveyed said that counselling should be expanded to other grades.

However, a major in occupational counseling is not offered at any university in Vietnam.-VNA