New draft rule worries self-funded overseas students

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No overseas student will be allowed to work in host countries for more than three years after their graduation under a draft regulation introduced by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).

As the plan targets overseas students regardless of where their funding comes from, it also asks them to report their academic performance periodically to the MoET’s International Education Development office.

However, only those enjoy the state’s sponsorship would have to pay income tax during their work abroad, Nguyen Ngoc Hung, deputy head of MoET’s Department of International Cooperation, told local newswire Vietnamnet.

The state-funded students would have also to work under the government’s coordination within given terms on their return, or they would have to repay all the training expenses, according to the draft statute on Overseas Students Management.

The draft, which was released last week to invite public comments and feedback, would add weight to the qualifications obtained by students who fund their own overseas training program when they are placed under MoET management, Vietnamnet quoted Truong Duy Phuc, deputy head of the Vietnam International Education Department as saying.

The move would also help MoET have more exact statistics on self-funded overseas students, giving society a better orientation on studying abroad while protecting the students’ rights, Hung said.

However, the draft has worried overseas students who’ve said in online forums that it contained many impractical and unreasonable points, especially regarding self-funded students.

At a forum on MoET’s website http://edu.net.vn/ , one student said the most illogical regulation is that the MoET wants to manage self-funded students’ working in host countries.

“The ministry’s statutes should only apply to those who are studying abroad under the government’s scholarship or co-operation programs between the ministries and foreign organizations,” another member said.

In the meantime, Nguyen Duc Long, national coordinator of Vietnam Foundation representing Vietnam Education Fund’s Overseas Students Association, said most of the draft regulations are impossible to put into effect.

In fact, most overseas students are studying on their own. Some study abroad under various scholarships, so it would be unreasonable to put all of them under the same management, Long felt.

It’s also illogical to impose income tax on overseas students working in host countries where they earn money and have already paid tax, Long stressed.

“I’m not clear about MoET’s intention to manage self-funded overseas students and limit their working overseas to three years since their graduation,” he added.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of the Center of Economics and Policy Research under Hanoi’s University of Economy, meanwhile, said the ministry’s plan was not ideal, but rather “abnormal”.

According to Thanh, in the 1960s an Indian research group proposed a similar plan to prevent the country’s brain drain, but it was never conducted as it was considered impossible and outdated.

“At the moment, it’s for sure no one would propose a management plan that involves the MoET’s statutes,” the director said.

Source: Tuoi Tre

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