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Socialization of education in meeting requirements of development and integration

(LLCT) - The Party’s 12th Congress observed that education and training had gained remarkable achievements including “the socialization of education and training has been intensified...”. The national educational system has diversified. A learning society has gradually taken shape. Nursery, comprehensive, vocational and non-public tertiary education has gained a good number of results over the last years. High-quality schools and classes have been established and have met people’s learning demands.

Vocational training for rural worker _ Photo:baobackan.org.vn

Socialization in educational, health care and cultural activities has been a major policy of the Party and State during the renovation era. The 8th Congress of the Party pointed out, “Social policy issues are to be solved collectively. The State is to play a central role while encouraging every citizen, business and organization at home as well as foreign individuals and organizations to participate in such solution”(1). While changing its thinking as to various areas, the Party has particularly rethought it social, educational and cultural policies.

In an effort to flesh out the Resolution by the 8th Congress of the Party, the Government on 21 August 1997 issued Resolution 90/CP, which explains the direction and policy of socializing educational, health care and cultural activities and lays down detailed regulations concerning the socialization of social activities including education in order to create a legal basis for implementing the Party’s points of view on this matter and reach unanimity among the entire society in terms of awareness and action. Accordingly, socialization is understood as: Encouraging and organizing extensive participation of people and the entire society; Establishing communal responsibility among Party organizations, authorities, the Fatherland Front, mass organizations, economic organizations, businesses and ordinary people for the creation and improvement of the economic and social environment so it becomes healthy and conducive to educational, health care and cultural activities; Diversifying sources of investment, and tapping the potentialities of the society potential including human, physical and financial resources.

According to Resolution 90/CP, socialization consists of (1) creating a popular learning movement within the whole society in different forms; encouraging the entire population, especially people within working age brackets to pursue lifelong learning so the society becomes a learning one; (2) encouraging the entire population to take care of young generations, creating a healthy educational environment, reaching close coordination between school- and family- and society-based education; emphasizing the responsibility of Party committees and authorities at various levels, mass organizations and businesses for the educational cause; (3) and increasing the sense of responsibility of the entire population for, and their participation in, education in order to improve the effectiveness of the educational system and cater to people’s learning needs(2).

To continue to implement the policy of the 8th Congress of the Party, the Resolution by the 9th Congress of the Party confirmed, “Social policies are to be implemented by the entire society with emphasis given to the responsibility of authorities at various levels and by mobilizing social resources and encouraging the participation of mass and social organizations”(3).

The Party’s 10th and 11th Congresses confirmed continuation of its policy aimed at mobilizing the physical and intellectual resources of the society for the advancement of the educational cause and ensuring close coordination between the educational sector and other sectors and industries and socio-political organizations in three areas: mobilization of social resources; promotion of the supervisory role of the community; and encouragement of learning and talent promotion activities, establishment of a learning society, creation of conditions so people can pursue lifelong learning(4), and attachment of importance to the establishment of a learning society and lifelong learning. These points of view were mentioned in Resolution 90/CP. However, although the Resolution has been implemented for nearly 10 years, it has not been very fruitful.

To further explain the Party’s points of view at its 11th Congress, Resolution 29 on fundamental, comprehensive innovation of education and training laid down the direction of “intensifying socialization, first of all that of vocational training and tertiary education... As regards subjects which stand a chance of being socialized, the State budget only provides assistance for beneficiaries of social policies, ethnic minority people and talented people”(5). Thus, the main targets of the socialization of education have been identified, vocational training and tertiary education, which are instrumental to the standard and quality of the country’s human resources.

The Party’s 12th Congress observed that education and training had gained remarkable achievements including “the socialization of education and training has been intensified...”(6) However, the innovation of education and training did not live up to expectations: “Mechanisms and policies are unsuitable to some extent; socialization has been slow and faced with difficulties; and not many non-State resources have been mobilized for the development of education and training”(7). Therefore, given the ongoing globalization, international integration and scientific and technological revolution, especially that in information technology, the Congress laid down two tasks: “Step by step perfect the national educational system so it becomes an open one and supports lifelong learning and a learning society”(8). In addition, it was necessary to seriously “implement the market mechanism and promote socialization of the provision of public services”(9). It was especially necessary to fulfill the goals of “encouraging the whole society to invest in the development of high-quality schools at all levels of education and training and giving autonomy to education and training establishments, particularly universities and vocational schools”(9).

The implementation of the Party’s policy on socialization of education has achieved a good number of results.

It has created a favorable legal corridor encouraging investment in the development of education. The Government has issued Decree 69/2008/ND-CP on encouragement of the socialization of activities in education, training, health care, culture, sports and environment; Decree 59/2014/ND-CP revising and supplementing a number of provisions of Decree 69/2008/ND-CP so they are suitable for realities. Accordingly, investors will be given incentives as to land allocation and lease; support for site clearing compensations; corporate income taxes; participation in the provision of public services sponsored or ordered by the State; participation in bids for contracts or projects with domestic or foreign capital and within their scope of authority and assignment; equality in the evaluation and use of products and services. Article 12 of the Law on Higher Education of 2012 stipulates, “The socialization of higher education shall be carried out; incentives in terms land, taxes, credits and personnel training shall be given to private higher education establishments and those with foreign investment and operating for non-profit purposes; priority shall be given to the establishment of private higher education establishments with large investments and meeting foundation requirements by the law”(10). It is this stipulation that has facilitated the operation of non-public educational establishments.

The attraction of foreign investment has received importance. Investment in the development of education and training has been made in different forms such as recognition of degrees; foundation of education and training joint ventures; business cooperation or 100 per cent foreign investment contracts to provide education for foreigners working temporarily in Vietnam; high school education for foreigners and Vietnamese nationals; professional high school, foreign language and vocational training, and college, undergraduate and postgraduate education for foreigners and Vietnamese nationals; and establishment of foreign representative offices in Vietnam. As a result, many areas and beneficiaries of education in the country have gained access to high-quality educational services.

The national educational system has diversified. A learning society has gradually taken shape. Nursery, comprehensive, vocational and non-public tertiary education has gained a good number of results over the last years. High-quality schools and classes have been established and have met people’s learning demands. By the academic 2014-2015, the total number of educational establishments was 43,874, of which 41,248 (94 per cent) were public ones and 2,626 (6 per cent) were non-public ones; and there were nearly 21 million pupils and students and 6.4 per cent of them were studying in non-public schools and universities. High-quality and international school shave thrived, playing an important role in creating a good learning environment for children of foreign and Vietnamese families. In addition to State budget funds for the School, Classroom and Teacher Room Reinforcement Project, local budgets have mobilized VND 6,720 billion, and donors and communities throughout the country have contributed 721 billion VND, reaching 70.67 per cent of the plan for the 2008-2012 period(11). The Government has approved projects to establish a learning society for the 2005-2010 period and until the year 2020. Under the projects, every individual is responsible for pursuing regular, lifelong learning and taking advantage of all learning opportunities to become a good citizen with skills and increasingly high productivity; learning for his or her own happiness and that of people around him or her; and learning to make a contribution to the development of his or her hometown, country and humanity. On that basis, provinces have organized workshops to transfer science and technology and talks and conferences to disseminate information technology and foreign language knowledge for local people. Various lifelong movements within families, family clans and communities have been launched. A number of community learning centers have been established.

A good number of businesses have made investment in education. In recent years, due to the educational socialization policy, many groups and businesses have participated in the training and building of training establishments to prepare human resources for their own industries. Take Post and Telecommunication University under Post and Telecommunication Corporation, Electricity University under Electricity of Vietnam, Oil and Gas University under Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, Hai Phong Vietronics College under Vietnam Electronics and Informatics Corporation, and FPT University under FPT Group. These universities have made a direct contribution to improving the quality of their human resources and meeting social demands for human resources.   

Nevertheless, the socialization of education has some limitations:

A good number of policies have been implemented slowly or ineffectively. The allocation or lease of land or infrastructure at easy rates and credit incentives have been limited because of different reasons such as insufficient local budgets or lack of land planning for socialization purposes. Scores of non-public nursery and comprehensive schools have not been given priority when it comes toallocation or lease of land or lease of houses according to Ministry of Finance Circular 135/2008/TT-BTC of 31 December 2008, and when these schools are allocated land or houses or rent houses, they do not have the minimum areas required by the law. To meet their demands for infrastructure, these schools have arranged capital by themselves so private land can be transferred to them or they can rent the land on which they build their school buildings, leading to high investment costs. The average size of these schools is small. This is especially the case of nursery schools.

As for non-public schools, multi-level schools are quite common, but Decision 1466/QD-TTg does not provide for this kind of school, thereby causing difficulty in its implementation. Decree 49/2010/ND-CP and Decree 74/2014/ND-CP by the Government deals with the exemption and reduction of tuition fees, assistance for learning costs and how to use tuition fees at educational establishments belonging to the national educational system from the academic 2010-2011 to 2014-2015. To gain extra revenues, public higher education establishments have had to increase the size of their training and develop non-formal, joint training. However, this diversification of training has yet to correspond to their training capacity (in terms of teaching staff, infrastructure, libraries, laboratories, etc.)

Socialization has yet to result in social equality in education. Although the Party and State pay attention to socialization which leads to a learning society and lifelong learning and addresses the relationship with social equality in education, this issue has not been solved in reality. Many children of different ages have not had access to schooling. According to the 2009 Population and Housing Census, the proportions of children staying out of formal schooling is 12.97 per cent among nursery age children, 3.97 per cent among primary school age children, and 11.17 per cent among lower secondary school age children(12). The universalization of nursery and lower secondary education has not met its targets. The much lower proportions of children attending nursery and lower secondary schools show that social policies have paid inadequate attention to encouraging children to go to school. According to studies by the UNICEF and Ministry of Education and Training in 2013, the proportion of children who have never been to school is quite high, especially among ethnic minority children. Nationwide, 2.57 per cent of children aged 5-17 have never attended a school with the figure for children of Mong origin being 23.02 per cent, the highest of all ethnic minority children. More children in rural and mountainous areas stay out of formal schooling than those in urban and lowland areas(13).

Currently, school infrastructure and networks are being reinforced and standardized. However, the infrastructure varies from region to region. In some places, it is insufficient and the percentage of makeshift schools remains high. In the academic 2014-2015, provinces in midland and northern mountainous areas ran short of 7,200 classrooms and still had more than 5,500 temporary classrooms and 5,852 borrowed classrooms(14). In Son Tay district in Quang Ngai province, more than 60 makeshift schools did not have electricity(15).

The quality of education, particularly non-public one, has yet to meet demands for economic development. Wastefulness and commercialization in education have not been overcome yet. There is a major difference in the quality of education between urban and rural areas, between lowland and highland regions, and between economically developed and disadvantaged areas. There are a good number of issues concerning the quality of non-public higher education. One of the biggest issues is the relationship between the size of training and its quality. Since new universities and colleges including non-public ones were allowed in 2005, the number of these establishments has seen a rapid increase. Of the 195 newly established universities, 56 (28.7 per cent ) are non-public ones(16). Many of them have failed to enroll students and are faced with the danger of bankruptcy, which is likely to cause negative consequences for students and employees. A large number of students who graduate from non-public universities cannot find jobs, resulting in a huge waste of human resources. One of the reasons for the above-mentioned problems is that state management has failed to meet demands for the development of non-public higher education. A good number of related policies overlap each other. Management remains scattered or has even badly performed. The Ministry of Education and Training has no division in charge of managing non-public education. The increase of the size of non-public education has yet to be linked to quality control or human resource demands.

To intensify the socialization of education so it can satisfy human resource demands, it is necessary to coordinate the following solutions:

Firstly, the Party’s and State’s points of view on the socialization of education must be fully grasped. The Party’s leadership and the State’s management from central to local levels must be enhanced.

The political system, the education and training sector and the entire society must have a good understanding of points of view on, objectives of, tasks of, and solutions to, fundamental, comprehensive innovation of education and training. They must reach a high degree of consensus over the vision that education and training are the most important national policy. In addition, it is necessary to create a legal framework for ensuring the socialization of education and the role of the State in the process and linking socialization to equality in education and training; to focus on reviewing, revising and supplementing official documents and policies related to the socialization of education so as to create a full, favorable legal corridor encouraging investors at home and abroad to invest in the development of education and training; and to further improve management tools and emphasize the inspectional and supervisory role of state management bodies. To that end, it is necessary to carry out administrative reform, increase the quality of officials and civil servants and innovate and perfect the information systems of state management. Scientific and technological advances must be applied to state management. Authorities at various levels need to prioritize their budgets for the development of education and training; introduce measures aimed at regulating tuition fees charges by non-public educational establishments; actively disseminate laws on the socialization of education; create favorable conditions for attracting investment resources, especially those from businesses, for education; and effectively inspect and supervise educational activities and strictly punish violations.

Secondly, the national educational system must improve so it becomes open and leads to a learning society.

Planning for the network of national educational establishments and levels of schooling must improve. The socialization of public educational establishments which are capable of funding themselves must intensify by giving them greater autonomy and responsibility for their performance, finance and personnel. The establishment of organizations providing education and training services must be encouraged. While public schools are strengthened and play the key role in the educational sector, different forms of education need to be introduced and non-public schools fostered to create opportunities for every citizen to improve their educational standards and access new knowledge and scientific and technological advances. The mass media needs to be used to develop distance learning. Encouragement needs to be given to, and favorable conditions created for, the development of semi-public, people-founded and private schools in cities, towns, district capitals and economically advantaged areas.

Thirdly, it is necessary to increase communication to persuade the public to participate in the socialization of education and training.

Coordination between State management bodies for education and training and the Fatherland Front and mass organizations must intensify so as to encourage people to take part effectively in the educational cause.

Information and communication work as regards the Party’s and State’s policy of educational socialization must increase to create consensus and enable participation, evaluation, supervision and debate from the entire society when it comes to the innovation and development of education.

Social resources must be effectively exploited and used for the development of education. In addition to increasing the size of the state budget and the effectiveness of its use, it is necessary to reform the tuition fee system and mobilize more contributions from students’ parents and businesses. Mobilization of resources from people for education must be carefully considered and based on the living standards and financial capabilities of people in each area and province so as to ensure social equality. Policies to provide tuition fee exemptions, social assistance and student loans must be implemented.

Also, it is necessary to mobilize resources from business. There must be regulations concerning the contribution duties of businesses for education and training. Voluntary contributions should not be counted towards their taxable revenues or profits. There must be mechanisms for creating equality between public and non-public education and training as to their participation in training social human resources and their entitlement to state budget assistance. Importance needs to be attached to the encouragement of businesses, organizations and individuals at home and abroad to contribute, to assist, and support, education and training in different forms such as scholarships, internships, infrastructure, books, documents, and so on.

Fourthly, science and technology, particularly education and management sciences, need to be developed.

“Science and technology are to thrive and become the most important national policy and driving force behind the development of modern productive forces and knowledge economy and increase of productivity, quality, effectiveness and competitiveness of the economy... The development and application of science and technology need to be prioritized in the agendas of industries and authorities at various levels”(17). Therefore, the application of science and technology and especially research into education and management sciences and increase of the capacity, quality and performance of national education research institutions are among urgent issues for the time being. To that end, it is necessary to improve the quality of education researchers and experts, and carry out national research programs for education sciences.

Higher education establishments need to increase the quality and effectiveness of their scientific research and technological transfer. Close coordination must be achieved between training and research and between training establishments and manufacturers and businesses. Priority is to be given to investment in fundamental and key sciences, important and specialized laboratories, high-tech centers and modern experimental production facilities within some higher education establishments. There must be policies aimed at encouraging pupils and students to conduct scientific research. Encouragement should be given to the establishment of research and technology transfer institutes or centers and businesses in science and technology and support to the registration and application of inventions by training establishments. Ordering and funding mechanisms for higher education establishments’ science and technology projects should be perfected. Some scientific research and technological application organizations need to be merged with public universities. Resources and investment should be concentrated on some interdisciplinary research universities and there must be special mechanisms for doing so, so these universities will soon reach regional and international standards and be able to cooperate and compete with the world’s leading training and research establishments.

Fifthly, international cooperation in education and training must be proactively expanded.

The country is to proactively integrate into international education and training while maintaining its independence, sovereignty and socialist direction and preserving and promoting its fine cultural values and selectively receiving the cultural, scientific and technological achievements of humanity. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms must be perfected and international commitments to education and training realized(18). To that end, it is necessary to encourage leading international universities to open their branches in Vietnam, especially in higher and vocational education. More lecturers of fundamental, important and specialized sciences should be sent to overseas training using the state budget. Overseas learning and research using non-budget funds should be encouraged. There must be mechanisms for encouraging international organizations, foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to participate in training, research, application and scientific and technological transfer in Vietnam. International cultural and academic exchanges should increase. There must be policies aimed at supporting and managing Vietnamese students’ learning and training in foreign countries and at foreign-owned education and training establishments in Vietnam.

It is necessary to take advantage of assistance from international organizations and educational cooperation with foreign countries to attract added resources for the advancement of its education and training cause and allow some foreign universities or educational organizations and overseas Vietnamese to open schools in Vietnam according to the Vietnamese law and domestic universities to invite foreign lecturers and overseas Vietnamese lecturers to teach. In addition, it is necessary to organize forums and conferences to introduce prioritized education and training fields including vocational training for which the Vietnamese Government needs official development assistance (ODA) and soft loans from donors. These forums and conferences will provide opportunities to get in touch with, and establish close relations, with strategic donors.____________________

(1) CPV: Political Report to the Party’s 8th National Congress,http://dangcongsan.vn.

(2) The Government’s Resolution 90/NQ-CPof 21 August 1997 on the direction and policy to socialize educational, health care and cultural activities,http://chinhphu.vn.

(3) The CPV: Documents of the Party’s 9th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, p.108.

(4) CPV: Documents of the Party’s 10th National Congress, http://dangcongsan.vn.

(5) CPV: Documents of the Party’s 11th National Congress, http://dangcongsan.vn.

(6), (19): CPV: Resolution 29-NQ/TW of 4 November 2013 on fundamental, comprehensive innovation of education and training,http://chinhphu.vn.

(7), (8), (9), (10), (18) CPV: Documents of the Party’s 12th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2006, pp.228, 249, 27, 276, 296-297, 299-230, 20.

(11) The Law on Higher Education (2012).

(12) Nguyen Vinh Hien: “On educational socialization in the country over last years and solutions for coming time”, http://www.tapchicongsan.org.vn.

(13) General Statistics Office of Vietnam: Population and housing census 2009, http://chinhphu.vn.

(14) UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Training: Report summarizing the global initiative on out-of-school children, Hanoi, 2013, pp.7-8.

(15) Thanh Thuy: “Education in mountainous areas still faced with difficulties”, baotintuc.vn

(16) “Over 60 makeshift schools in Quang Ngai have no access to electricity”, vtv.vn.

(17) The Association of Vietnamese Non-Public Universities and Colleges: Report by the Executive Committee of the Association of Vietnamese non-public universities and colleges at the conference looking back at the 20 years of development on the non-public university model in Vietnam on 26 September 2013.

MA. Nguyen Hoa Mai

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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