Trial of new university remuneration plan on hold

A plan to give university principals the power to set their employees salaries has not yet been implemented because other policies concerning the self-financing of universities and principals’ powers haven’t been issued.

The Ministry of Education and Training had entrusted the University of Economics under Hanoi’s Vietnamese National University to trial a new staff salary policy from September.

But University of Economics Principal Phung Xuan Nha said the ministry called a halt to the project so it could be trialed at several universities at once.

The new salary model was likely to cause problems as university staff salaries would no longer follow the wider public service remuneration system, Nha said.

If the project is introduced, university staff will be paid according to the new government regulations, their position, professional ability and effectiveness. The staff would be able to earn up to US$5,000 a month.

Professor Dao Trong Thi, director of the Culture, Education, Youth, Children and Infants Committee of the National Assembly of Vietnam, agreed the new university staff salary proposal was a good idea but he was still worried about its feasibility because it was tied to many other policies.

Higher salaries had to be funded by the universities themselves, he said.

The University of Economics was able to raise revenue itself because it already had customers such as companies and banks. Other universities, particularly those focusing on basic research, may not be able to raise enough funds to increase staff salaries, he said.

Revenue from student tuition fees only covered part of a university’s expenses, Professor Nguyen Viet Thinh, principal of Hanoi University of Education, said. If unable to generate increased funding, a university would not be able to siphon funds from other parts of its budget to pay higher staff salaries, he said.

Dr Tran Thi Ha, Manager of Higher Education Department, has said Vietnam’s higher education sector was suffering because salaries did not properly recognize the skills, experience and qualifications of university staff.

Ha also affirmed there would be regulations setting out how particular skills, talents and qualifications could be recognized by higher salaries.

By Anh Nhi – Translated by Thuy Doan

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