Five solutions groups to improve the quality of Higher Education



Addressing at the Conference on Solutions to improve the quality of Higher Education, Minister Phung Xuan Nha confirmed that the quality of higher education in recent years has got many positive achievements. Five solutions groups to improve the quality of higher education in the future were also launched at the Conference by the Minister.

In January 07, the Ministry of Education and Training held a Conference "Solutions on improving the quality of higher education” at Danang. At the Conference, 271 leaders of educational institutions across the country gathered and focused on three major issues which are crucial to the quality of higher education including innovation on higher education and autonomy of universities; solutions on quality assurance and quality accreditation in the whole system; innovation on training methods, connecting to employers to increase job opportunities for graduates ... in order to improve teaching quality of higher education (HE).

Relating to assessment of higher education quality in recent time, the Minister Phung Xuan Nha said that quality of HE has made a positive change, a number of universities have breakthrough majors (advanced program, high quality program). However, in some instances reviewed, there were uneven in training quality in some industries. Considering the requirements of the market and the economy, the quality of our human resources have not caught up. Graduates have been jobless or very difficult to get a job. More and more shortcomings and weakness of HE’s quality have been exposed that were urgent and worried concerns in society.

Explaining the main cause of this problem in perspective of the provider’s responsibility for human resources, the Minister said that there were three main reasons: the faculty, staff were not qualified, the facilities were not reliable, investment funding to train a student was too low. The reality in Vietnam today showed that training cost is around $ 500 / student / year; while in the countries like US… the training cost is about $16,000/student (public schools) amd $36,000 (private schools).

Educational policy system is still inadequate, HE’s governance is weak. Universities now mainly base on experience, existing resources to build and develop training programs. This leads to current difficulties in enrollment in many industries which were strong before while new industries at the society’s requirement are not opened to train that increase the ratio of jobless graduates. This showed that the approach of the current training at universities were no longer suitable.

Requirements are set out to improve the quality of HE, the quality of training of human resources are urgent, cannot be further delay, especially when Vietnam has integrated labor market of ASEAN countries.

In the process to improve quality of HE, both public and non-public universities need to coordinate to develop, the Minister Phung Xuan Nha has outlined five solutions groups to reorganize the entire system of HE and overcome the inadequacies and weaknesses to improve the quality of HE, link training to market’s needs, create jobs for students.

Firstly, conducting a review of the entire system of universities.

Considering this is urgent and long term solution, the Minister Phung Xuan Nha stated that in order to conduct this solution, the universities must follow quality accreditation.

In parallel with the accreditation, the Ministry will re-construct the network of universities a coherent way. Universities which are not under the Ministry’s management will be encouraged to promote autonomy, according to the schedule.

Secondly, enhancing the quality assurance elements including teaching staff, management staff and the facilities.

For teaching staff, we will conduct the review and planning of industries to calculate teachers on the suitable principle and transformation roadmap, priority will be given to investment in promising new industries.

In addition to building Program for capacity enhancement for teaching staff, the Ministry would also prioritize the use of funds from the project 911 to train PhD to teachers at public and private universities.

We must establish standards for qualifications for teachers and management staff. Not only teaching staff, but also management staff (principals, chairman of council, vice principals ...) should also be fostered with professional management standards.

As for public universities, only nearby staff who go through management training with certificate shall be taken on the leadership's planning roadmap.

Financial problem was also accounted in this group. The Minister asked universities to balance quality with the price, go into quality not quantity. With public universities, the Minister requested the construction roadmap of cost of tuition fee, avoiding push of the wrong price to quality and quality assurance conditions. Diversification of revenue sources, not just focus on one income from tuition fees as current (accounting for 95-97%) was also stated.
Thirdly, promoting higher education governance towards autonomy.

Ministers requested universities to review training programs closely based on labor market, planning and economic development strategy of the Government at a vision of 5-10 years moving slowly from  cheap labor use to science and technology labor use.
Fourthly, solutions related policy mechanisms.

Minister Phung Xuan Nha stressed that this was the basic solution as the platform for 03 groups of solutions mentioned above. Accordingly, the education industry shall review all legal documents related to education in general and higher education in particular, where the focus was 3 groups of issues mentioned above.

Lastly, solutions related to communication to social orientation, advocacy, policy analysis explains, introduction to promote the achievements and protect the strengths before the wrong information and argument.

Each university should develop a professional communication department.