Vietnam city ready to sue contract-breaching scholarship recipients

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A meeting held by the Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development (CPHUD) for participants of the scholarship program offered by Da Nang City . Photo by Quynh Giao

The central city of Da Nang says it is prepared to sue three former city employees who abruptly breached contracts granted to them by the city to study abroad if they do not pay back fivefold the money they received for tuition and other expenses.

Da Nang offers a training program which grants full scholarships to talented students and city employees to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Vietnam and abroad.

Nguyen Van Chien, deputy director of Da Nang Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development (CPHUD), said the program, established in 2004, requires participants to agree to work for city agencies for seven years if they study abroad, and five years if they study locally.

Otherwise, they must pay compensation equal to five times the money given to them by the city per the terms of their contracts.

According to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the city spent VND2.38 billion (US$112,000), VND958 million and VND730 million respectively for Nguyen Van Loi's postgraduate studies in Australia, and Ho Thi Nhu Mai and Ha Thanh An's in the UK.

Chien told Thanh Nien that Loi had been expelled from his Australian school for abandoning work on his thesis. Although his visa has expired, he has not returned to Vietnam and city authorities have been unable to contact him.

According to the terms of his contract, Loi owes the Da Nang Science and Technology Department seven years of work.

Mai had been assigned to work at the Da Nang Institute for Socioeconomic Development and Da Nang Hi-tech Park, before quitting and returning to the UK with her husband. An also returned to Vietnam and worked at the Da Nang Foreign Affairs Department, but later quit to pursue a doctorate degree in the UK.

Chien said that early this month, his center will officially send notice to the contract violators via their families that they must repay the money within 120 days or face lawsuits.

Bui Van Tieng, a senior official at the Da Nang City's Party Committee, said the participants quit the program for private reasons, not because they were dissatisfied with their positions.

He said incidents such as these have been occurring for a long time, so violators must be strictly punished if the city wants the project to continue.

Speaking to Tuoi Tre on Tuesday, Ha Phuoc Nga, An's father, said he would request that the city reduce the financial penalty against his daughter since she worked faithfully for the city for three years.

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