HCM CITY (VNS) — To ensure quality, vocational schools must affiliate themselves with agencies like the Viet Nam National University's Centre for Education Accreditation, educational experts said.
Speaking at a conference on ensuring quality at job training schools held last Friday by Dai Viet Vocational School, Dr Nguyen Kim Dung, deputy head of the HCM City University of Education's Institute for Educational Research, said after accreditation, a school carries out many changes to improve.
"I completely believe that accreditation will help schools become better and ensure training quality if they strictly adhere to accreditation norms," she added.
Dr Pham Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the Ministry of Education and Training's General Department for Educational Testing and Accreditation, admitted that accreditation to ensure quality has not been a focus for professional schools.
Only 99 of 294 such schools in the country have completed even the first step in the accreditation process, that of self-assessment, he said.
The self-assessment showed that training quality is low, he added.
Dung said the low training quality and failure of graduates to get jobs are causing a drop in the popularity of vocational schools.
But the schools themselves blamed the higher intake by universities and colleges each year.
According to the ministry's Professional Education Department, the number of applications to professional secondary schools nationwide has been plunging. For instance, the number fell by almost a third to around 180,000 last year.
Because of the difficulty in attracting candidates, three private schools in Da Nang closed down and some in HCM City were sold to new owners.
Dung said many professional schools seem to forget their main mission of training people to become a technicians or skilled worker in various occupations.
If they focus on ensuring their students master professional skills, "more and more learners … [will] apply."
Since learners' needs are varied, "vocational schools do not need to worry about getting candidates," she said, adding that many graduates and post-graduates are applying to professional schools proves this.
Professor Vu Gia Hien, rector of Au Viet Intermediate School, said that the need for industrial workers is very high not only in Viet Nam but also many other countries.
The General Department of Vocational Training said the country's ratio of university graduates to vocational trainees is 1:3 as against 1:10 in neighbouring countries, meaning the country lacks skilled workers and technicians to ensure socio-economic development.
According to HCM City's Centre for Human Resource Forecast and Labour Information, city-based businesses will need 270,000 more workers by 2025, with 34 per cent of having vocational training.