Universities face WTO integration
10:27' 03/11/2006 (GMT+7)
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VietNamNet Bridge - Education managers have said that with the current management mechanism, Vietnamese universities may lose their market shares when foreign universities come to Vietnam after Vietnam joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
On the afternoon of October 30, a class of first-year students at the HCM City Open University had an hour course on studying skills and methods used by university students. They studied in a classroom with air conditioning, and their teacher used an electronic teaching programme.
The lesson was delivered to students in advance so they didn’t have to take notes. They spent the time in discussion, which made the class very interesting.
That’s a special class that the HCM City Open University opened just one week ago.
Special training programmes
This is the first academic year the HCM City Open University has offered this special programme in two fields, finance and banking and business management, which has attracted 111 students.
According to the university’s Deputy Director, Dr. Nguyen Thuan, this programme is being organised to rectify three common weaknesses of Vietnamese graduates: weak foreign language, professional knowledge and team-work skills.
As a special programme, the school fees are also higher than normal, at VND8.8 million per student per year; however, students in the first training course will be granted scholarships.
The programme has just been going for two weeks but the students have all said that they love the new method of teaching as it helps them absorb knowledge more easily.
At the Ton Duc Thang Semi-public University, where has opened an experimental high-quality accounting class with 17 students, the situation is also very good. All students have had good study results and are highly independent in working.
This year the university will open a similar class with 21 students. With school fees of VND16 million per student a year, students have a chance to experience advanced teaching methodology.
Market still opens
Previously, some special training programmes were also implemented by the National University’s Hanoi and HCM City branches and some other public universities, such as those to train talented engineers and bachelors, high-grade engineers and advanced teaching projects.
As the state can’t afford to invest broadly in high-quality training programmes at all universities and many students also can’t afford to pay the fees for the programmes, universities have to focus on some special training programmes that have higher investment.
However, such training programmes are still very rare because big public universities, which are the institutions able to provide this service, are restricted by the ceiling level of school fees.
As Vietnam is about to join the WTO, education managers worry that based on the current management, Vietnamese universities may lose their market shares when foreign universities come to Vietnam.
Dr Thai Ba Can, Director of the HCM City Technological Teachers Training University, said that it was very difficult to attract local students to training programmes with school fees of more than $5,000 per year. Joint programmes with foreign partners, which offer school fees of $2,000-3,000 per year, may lure some students. Those with school fees of less than $1,000 (VND10 to VND15 million) per year will attract many more students.
According to Dr. Can, this is a potential market that local universities can develop but under the current mechanism, it may belong to foreign universities.
He said that many people think that it is better to let private universities offer high-quality education service, but actually, only big public universities can attract learners and provide this service.
If they don’t begin doing it now, it may be too late.