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In Vietnam, the best education may not lead to the best job

The unemployment rate among university graduates is the highest in the country. Vietnam's education system may slow down future economic growth.

The real story

Nguyen Van Duc graduated from one of the best universities in Vietnam two years ago with a bachelor's degree in economics. His current job is a motorbike taxi driver in Hanoi with a salary of about 5 million dong a month.

Germany is the only one in the family with three children to go to college. But Germany is just one of thousands of Vietnamese graduates who can not get a job in the right sector despite the national unemployment rate being announced at 2.3%.

"In the university, we have only been taught theoretically with so many subjects as Ho Chi Minh's thought and Communist Party history."

University students regularly spend their first two years learning the superpower, ie learning about the Ho Chi Minh revolutionary leader, socialism and Party history. While not cultivating other social knowledge and skills required by recruiters. Unemployment rate at university level is 17%.

Vietnamese schools can only equip students with basic skills in the assembly line or low-paying jobs. Colleges and universities can not train skilled workers to do more complicated jobs. Their basic salary threatens the government's ambition to achieve twice the average income of $ 4,000 (according to the World Bank).


Scott Rozelle, an economics expert at Stanford University, said: "Countries have successfully transitioned to the next stage of national economic development when they are in a profitable economy. Enter the average, that is, countries without collapsing or trapped in the middle income trap. "

Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan have developed high quality universities long before their economies are in dire need of a higher-level workforce, he said. By contrast, economies like Argentina, Brazil and Mexico slowed down after earning median income - in part because of insufficient investment in education, Rozelle said.

Challenges with education

Nguyen Xuan Thanh, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School in Ho Chi Minh City, said, "Foreign companies and private companies always want more skilled workers, competent managers and technicians. highly skilled ". Plus, families want their children to be better educated, which is a source of pressure on the education system and the supply of labor.

Many parents are sending their children abroad to study to improve their job prospects. The number of Vietnamese studying in Japan, including language schools, has increased more than 12 times in the six years from 2010 to 2016. As of June 2016, Vietnamese students in Japan have reached 54,000 according to the statistics of the Japan Student Services Organization.

Authorities acknowledge the challenge. "The government is trying to improve the quality of education at all levels of education and universities," said Nguyen Minh Thuyet, who oversees the Ministry of Education's new curriculum strategy. "We need to supplement and refine our curriculum to reduce unrealistic programs. But progress is still very slow. "

Literacy rate

Vietnam has expanded the number of colleges and universities nationwide in the decade to about 450. The government plans to have 560,000 new students entering colleges and universities by 2020, which will increase by about 8% in 10 years.

Despite the 97% literacy rate, only one-third of Vietnam's workforce has a secondary level, according to statistics from the Institute of Labor Science and Social Studies in 2015.

At this stage of development, Vietnam is projected to increase labor productivity to around 6 percent by 2019, but this is far from the rest of the region.

At present, Vietnam's industry is one of the weakest industries in Southeast Asia, with 6.5 times lower than Malaysia, lower than the Philippines and Thailand by 1.5 times, 26 times lower than Singapore. 

New program

Thuy Dam Bich, president of Fulbright, said Fulbright is the first non-profit educational organization to receive initial funding from the US State Department that will operate this fall. According to Fulbright's design, subjects such as Macintosh-Leninism will be taught as in Western universities.

One of the educational groups that is speeding up the quality of human resources in Vietnam is FPT, the nation's largest telecoms and technology group, with a national education center for about 20,000 students. with degrees: high school, college and university. In addition, Intel - an assembly and testing facility in Ho Chi Minh City - has committed $ 11 million to a number of programs to promote student learning and creativity, student.

However, for those who are looking to work in the public sector, education can be a great waste of time and money, "many of the graduates lack critical skills such as teamwork. and organizational skills working in companies, "said Luu Quang Tuan, deputy director of the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs.




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