School quality lags as quantity soars

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The number of new universities and colleges in Vietnam has surged over the last few years, but most of the new institutions offer sub-par educations, according to a report conducted by the National Assembly Standing Committee.

The report said 312 new colleges and universities were established or upgraded from college to university between 1998 and 2009.

Many of the new schools have enrolled large numbers of students but they are not capable of providing quality educations, said the report released at a National Assembly Standing Committee meeting Thursday.

Dao Trong Thi, chairman of the Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said an inspection of 51 post-secondary institutions in the past five years found that new universities and colleges have been established carelessly.

Many do not have sufficient facilities or good teachers, and they do not provide good educations, he said, noting that the problems were more prominent at private schools and schools outside big cities.

National Assembly Office chairman Tran Dinh Dan said it had become simple and easy to open a new college or university in Vietnam and the Ministry of Education and Training should take responsibility for the problem.

Dan also criticized the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs for making it too easy for vocational colleges to be upgraded into universities.

"We have given free rein to the excessive establishment of schools. There are teachers who may not be good but can still become high-level administrators at colleges."

He said the government should consider setting up a new agency to administer all post-secondary schools in the country.

Low quality training at universities and colleges has also been encouraged by state-owned companies that have not hesitated to recruit students with bad marks, Dang Vu Minh, chairman of the Science, Technology and Environment Committee, was quoted by local news website VnExpress as saying at the meeting.

"If recruitment is done properly and only good candidates are accepted, bad schools that fail to secure jobs for their students will have to close in just a few years."

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