Vietnamese university students short on job skills: WB report

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Vietnam's higher education is still facing many challenges in delivering skills to students despite the fact that access to higher education has been growing fast over the last decade, a World Bank report says.

The report, titled: "Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth in East Asia" was released Thursday.

According to the report, Vietnamese employers find a lack of communication and English skills as well as practical knowledge about one's job in newly hired graduates.

Skill gaps are found to be significantly larger in technologically intensive sub-sectors, constraining technological improvements and innovation, the report says, adding that only about 25 percent of students are enrolled in science and engineering fields.

The supply of higher education graduates, with a gross enrollment rate lower than 20 percent, remains below par regionally and does not yet address the needs of the labor market.

Access to higher education is still unequal among population groups, with ethnic minority students less likely to have access to higher education than Kinh students. 

The report also says international rankings and research output indicate that the Vietnamese higher education system is not yet providing research of sufficient quality, and university involvement in technology adaptation and upgrading is limited.

For instance, less than 3 percent of firms are cooperating with universities or research institutes in product innovation. Less than 20 percent of Vietnamese university teachers have PhD degrees, and for the most part, their primary job function remains teaching, not researching, the report says.

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