The Government will tighten the management of universities this year following a recent decision by the Prime Minister.

Under Decision No 64/2013/QD-TTg governing the conditions and procedures required to establish universities, investors looking to set up tertiary institutions will have to meet criteria covering finances, teaching staff and infrastructure.

Lecturers and staff will need to have qualifications that meet standards set by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), while the minimum charter capital for establishing private universities has been raised to 250 billion VND (12 million USD), up from the current 50 billion VND level, excluding land value.

However, one criterion proving problematic for existing universities is a new obligation to provide a total area of at least five hectares or more, or enough to meet a minimum density ratio of 25 square meters per student after 10 years of operation.

Vice Director of the National University of Civil Engineering Pham Hung Cuong says many universities in Hanoi will struggle to meet the minimum standards on space.

His university currently spans nearly four hectares in Hai Ba Trung district with a density of only 2.2 square meters per student, below the new criteria.

"The minimum area for universities is still a difficult issue that requires more time to be discussed and dealt with," said Cuong.

The changes follow provisions laid out in Resolution 50 in 2010 and an official document published last November which stipulated conditions for the establishment and operation of universities and a deadline to meet the criteria by June 2014, according to deputy director of the MoET's Planning and Finance Department Nguyen Van Ang.

Ang also stressed the shortage of qualified lecturers and large-scale infrastructure had significantly impacted the quality of education.

"The ministry will propose for the Prime Minister to deal with universities whose infrastructure and lecturers do not meet requirements stipulated in the decision," he said.-VNA