Conference discusses public transparency and decentralization at universities

All universities must publish their financial accounts and information about training standards on their website by April 15, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan told an education conference in Hanoi March 6.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan speaks at a March 6 conference on renovating higher education management (Photo: Nhan Dan)

The Ministry of Education and Training would further decentralize the tertiary education system, Nhan told the conference on an action plan to renovate higher education management 2010-2012.

As part of the action plan, which was based on instructions from the Prime Minister, Nhan told more than 1,000 university and provincial delegates at the conference to make a three year commitment to improving training quality and devise training improvement strategies for the next five to ten years.

He directed all universities to post their training standards and strategies for improvement on their websites.

The ministry would issue 23 documents to instruct universities to execute the action plan.

The plan comprises measures to enhance training quality, a review of development targets for higher education in 2010-2020, improving laws on tertiary education, decentralizing the higher education system, providing more on-demand training, and building universities and dormitories.

It also includes improving management skills of principals and deputy principals, renovating financial systems at public universities, assessment and verification of higher education quality, and improving management of scientific research.  

Dr. Tran Hoang Ngan, from the HCMC Economics University, said that management renovation is the key factor in the action plan to improving education quality but said the plan needed to be more elaborate.

Dr. Thai Ba Can, principal of the HCMC University of Technical Education, commented that the ministry’s action plan focused on supervision than creating conditions for universities to improve their training quality.

Nguyen Van Ngu, head of the Finance and Planning Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, complained that only a third of universities published all the required information on their websites.

Currently, 175 universities have yet to fully publicize their financial results, he said.

Students pay tuition fees at HCMC Economics University. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan says high school students will be warned about enrolling in universities that have not complied with their financial transparency commitments. (Photo: Thanh Nien)

Many universities said they hadn’t published the information because they didn’t have websites.

Dr. Nguyen Van Toan, president of the Hue University, said universities had not fulfilled their requirements to publish their results because there was no fear of punishment for not complying.

Nhan responded by saying that all universities must publicize all required information by April 15. He said high school students would be warned about applying to enter universities that did not comply with their public transparency commitments.

Decentralization

Expansion of the decentralization of higher education was one of the priorities the PM outlined in his instructions to the ministry.

Ngan said universities should be given more autonomy according to their quality.

Universities should be divided into three groups - high, medium, and poor quality for which high quality institutions would be given complete autonomy while the other two groups would remain under close Ministry supervision.

Currently, the Ministry of Education only allows the National University and regional universities to set up their own faculties, Tran Thi Ha, head of the Higher Education Department said.

She also said the new regulations for school establishment, enrollment and training were an important step forward and should be closely monitored.

Source: SGGP, Thanh Nien – Translated by Truc Thinh

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