Education has always had a central role in Vietnam culture and society. It is seen as the avenue of advancement and families routinely sacrifice much to ensure their offspring get the required education. As a country with over 86 million people and with more than 60% under the age of 35 (Source: General Department of Statistics of Vietnam, 2009), Vietnam’s education needs for this young population are huge. The government also pays a lot of attention to its education system. Currently, education occupies approximately 20% of all state budget expenditures and accounts for 5.5% of GDP (source: Department of Finance and Planning, MOET, 2008). However, the inadequate quality of higher education system in Vietnam is still a thorny challenge in Vietnam and requires effort from both the government and the society to resolve.
The quality of Vietnam higher education system is alarming. Firstly, Vietnam lacks a single university of recognized quality. The universities have poor record of publication compared to other universities in the region. While National University of Singapore and Peiking University have publications of 3598 and 3219 respectively, National University of Vietnam only have 52 publications in Peer-Review Journals. This illustrates how Vietnam’s universities isolated from the international current of knowledge.
The industry also has bad reviews about the quality of graduates from Vietnamese universities. Surveys conducted by government-linked associations have found that as many as 50 percent of Vietnamese university graduates cannot find jobs in their area of specialization. Knowledge from the classroom is greatly disconnected from the needs of the market. For example, Intel struggled with hiring engineers to staff its manufacturing facility in Ho Chi Minh City. When the company gave a standardized assessment test to 2,000 Vietnamese IT students, only 90 candidates, or 5 percent, passed. In Intel’s words, this is the worst result they have...
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