Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Higher Education Lags Behind the Times in Vietnam

As reported in this week’s issue of The Chronicle of Education, Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training appears to be the most outdated of all Vietnam’s state departments. While the country’s economy is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world, Vietnam’s educational system has remained extremely outdated.

The success of Vietnam’s economy relies on the amount and quality of skilled workers its society can provide. Because the educational system has not been producing nearly enough minds that are capable of working in a modern day economy, many companies have had to downsize. The economy will soon show signs of peril if the educational system does not start to play catch up.

According to this piece:

“Colorful advertisements for cell phones now outnumber posters of rapturous farmers standing arm in arm with Ho Chi Minh. When BillGates, chairman of Microsoft, visited Hanoi in April, he was given arock star's welcome by thousands of university students, not tomention government leaders, who broke away from an important partyconference to shake his hand. And Vietnam, after a hard-won battle toget the United States' approval, is scheduled to join the World TradeOrganization next month.

“Yet Vietnam's higher-education system is in a time warp: 20, even 30 years, out of date. Economists point to the fact that the country does not have a single university considered to be of international quality. It lacks a credible research environment, produces few Ph.D.'s, and is locked in Soviet-style pedagogy. Students still sit through lectures about the evils of capitalism. And in class, America is referred to as "the enemy."

“Development experts warn that Vietnam's remarkable growth rate of 8.4 percent cannot be sustained unless it can produce the skilled labor a modern economy needs. Several industries are already scaling back production because they do not have enough engineers to design theproducts customers want.

“‘We can't separate higher education from the country's economy,’ says Cao Hao Thi, dean of the School of Industrial Management at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology.”

To read the article in full, click here
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