Universities to focus on quality over quantity hinh anh 1Students prepare to take the national examination whose results also decide their university enrolment chances (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Universities should reduce the minimum enrollment quotas to focus on improving training quality, said Head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Higher Education, Nguyen Thi Kim Phung.

Phung made the statement on August 23 for local media in response to public concern over many universities’ failure to take on enough students after their first enrollment round completed last week.

The Hanoi University of Technology, for example, received 5,000 applicants while its enrollment quota is 6,000. The Hanoi Medical University received just three quarters of the total number of students it needs. The Industrial University of HCM City lacked around 2,400 students.

Enrollment quota increase was one of key reasons, she said. The number of candidates registering for university examinations was quite stable in recent years while universities kept increasing their enrollment scale, leading to the student shortage.

Meanwhile, students now had better information channels relating to the labour market and post-graduate employment opportunities, which had certain impacts on their decisions to choose which university they will attend, she added.

A change in enrollment in this academic year was also to blame, she said. Candidates this year had more choices for enrollment than last year as they were allowed to apply for and be received by two universities at the same time. It would therefore cause difficulties for universities because candidates will end up enrolling in only one of the two universities.

However, universities could still handle the problem and many universities enrolled enough students such as HCM City Law University, Hanoi Law University and Hanoi Foreign Trade University, Phung said.

She noted that universities should set a target of improving training quality by minimising the increase of enrollment quotas. Training quality at some schools remained low, failing to meet social demand, thus discouraging students from enrolling at them.

Many universities set enrollment quotas without basis on real education demand of the society or on assessment and study of the labour market, but based on their own experience, infrastructure and training capacity.

Phung said the Ministry of Education and Training has collected opinions from the public, experts and universities on developing a new enrollment plan. It also set up a task force to study and consult the construction of the best enrollment plan for the next academic year.

However, she said, the ministry is encouraging universities to improve quality rather than focusing on quantity of students.

Minister Phung Xuan Nha has urged authorised agencies to build mechanisms, policies and action programmes to ensure the ministry has enough management tools and conditions to support and supervise the training quality of universities.

In the coming years, the ministry will focus on three key tasks, including re-planning the university network, promoting universities’ self-control rights and improving high quality human resources training.

To implement these tasks, the ministry submitted to the Prime Minister for approval a national qualification framework to standardise training quality of universities.-VNA