Ferries dock on a river in Da Nang. Photo: Huu Tra
The central city of Da Nang has announced that it will continue to take legal action against scholarship recipients who refused to return home after studying overseas.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, the Da Nang Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development said 42 out of the 625 awardees of its scholarship program, which was launched in 2004 to create a high quality talent pool for the city, have opted out.
By the end of March last year, the program had granted VND558 billion (US$24.45 million) worth of scholarships, which cover living costs and tuition fees for undergraduate and graduate programs in Vietnam and some other countries such as Australia, the UK and the US.
The center said while 27 of them were allowed to leave the project based on their requests, after they had repaid all their training costs, it decided to sue 15 grantees who did not return to Vietnam to work for the city.
One of the contractual obligations of the program is that awardees, after finishing their study, will have to take a position in one of the city's government agencies, including those education and urban management sectors.
Since June, the city has won five lawsuits and claimed back VND10 billion ($440,000). The other 10 cases will be heard this month.
In one of the five cases, a court ordered Ho Viet Luan, 24, to pay Da Nang nearly VND2.7 billion ($118,600) that the city had paid for his four-year undergraduate program at the UK's University of Nottingham, started in September 2010.
After his graduation, Luan wanted to stay in the UK for a self-financed doctoral degree before returning to Vietnam, but the city turned down his request. The city said he did not respond to the its order to repay the grant.
In another case, Huynh Thi Thanh Tra, 29, will have to pay VND3.1 billion ($136,000), twice the value of the original grant, to the city.
Tra was allowed to stay in the US for another two years to complete her self-funded postgraduate program, after graduating from the Western International University in Arizona in 2009.
However, in 2012, she wanted to extend her stay for another three years, saying she needed to work to pay off her student loans.
The center then asked Tra to present documents to support her claim, but its request was ignored many times.