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Completing mechanisms and policies on training and fostering Vietnamese intellectuals by 2030, with a vision towards 2045

ASSOC. PROF., DR. BUI THI NGOC LAN
MA. LE MINH PHUONG

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

(PTOJ) -  On the basis of reviewing documents related to mechanisms and policies on training and fostering intellectuals in our country in the period of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country, this article proposes some solutions in order to continue supplementing and perfecting mechanisms and policies to create incentives to promote the development of intellectuals by 2030, with a vision towards 2045
 

1. Policy on training and fostering intellectuals in the renovation period

In order to serve the goal of rapidly developing intellectuals, meeting the requirements of the process of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country, the Party and the State have promulgated a system of policies to promote training, developing a team of intellectuals and the implementation has achieved many achievements:

Firstly, the Party’s resolutions have been issued and a system of legal documents of the State, ministries, branches, and localities have been formulated in order to create the environment, conditions, and incentives to promote the development of intellectuals.

During the renovation period, many mechanisms, and policies prioritizing the development of intellectuals have been issued by the Party and the State and achieved preliminary results, including the policy of training, and fostering intellectuals. At the 7th National Party Congress, 10th term, on 6th August 2008, Resolution No. 27-NQ/TW was issued by our Party “on building a contingent of intellectuals in the period of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country”. The resolution determined that one of the basic tasks and solutions is to fundamentally change the  training and fostering of intellectuals. Accordingly, implementing fundamental and comprehensive renovation of education and training, improving the quality of human resources, developing human resources, especially high-quality human resources; effectively mobilizing and using all investment sources to develop education and training, diversifying the types of training and fostering at home and abroad; building a number of universities on par with the advanced countries in the region and the world; creating conditions for leading universities and research institutes of developed countries to invest in opening training, research and technology transfer establishments in Vietnam. The mechanisms and policies have been formed to develop talents for the country; encouraging intellectuals to regularly improve their professional qualifications to meet the requirements of practice.

After more than 10 years of implementing Resolution No. 27 of the 10th Central Committee, in order to continue to promote the achieved results and overcome the limitations and inadequacies in the development of intellectuals, on 30th May 2019, Conclusion No. 52-KL/TW was issued by the Secretariat asking all levels of Party committees, party organizations, authorities, and mass organizations to focus on “Building a national strategy on developing intellectuals for the period 2021 - 2030”.

In order to implement the Party’s Resolution, on 19th April 2011, Decision No. 579/QD-TTg was signed by the Prime Minister approving the Vietnam Human Resource Development Strategy for the period 2011-2020 in which the goal of intellectual development was clearly determined: “Building a scientific and technological human resource team , especially a group of leading experts with professional and technical qualifications equivalent to advanced countries in the region that are capable to research, receive, transfer and propose scientific and technological solutions, fundamentally solving the development issues of the country and integrating with the natural science and technology development trends in the world”(1).

Then, on 22nd July 2011, Decision No. 1216/QD-TTg was signed by the Prime Minister approving the “Vietnam human resource development planning for the period 2011-2020”.

In order to create a legal framework, in addition to general legal provisions, there are also specific regulations on mechanisms and policies for the intellectual workforce to create a favorable environment, conditions, incentives and encourage the labor and creativity of the intellectual workforce while effectively exploiting and using the intellectual capacity of the intellectual workforce in the process of building the country. Specifically, the Law on Science and Technology was promulgated in 2013; The Law amended and supplemented a number of articles of the Law on Education, etc., institutionalized the Party’s goals and views on training and developing intellectuals, and at the same time created a legal framework for policies on education, training, fostering and developing a team of intellectuals to meet the requirements of the new era.

Thoroughly grasping the Party’s viewpoint and based on the Vietnam Human Resource Development Strategy for the period 2011-2020, ministries, branches, and localities have developed human resource development strategies for their respective branches and localities.

In the field of science and technology, Decree No. 40/2014/ND-CP was signed and issued by the Prime Minister dated 12th May 2014 on the use and appreciation of individuals’ scientific and technological activities with 33 specific regulations for three groups, including leading scientists, scientists assigned national tasks, and young scientists, to create favorable conditions and environment for scientific activities and maximize capacity while ensuring appropriate compensation for the contributions of intellectuals in the development of the country’s science and technology.

Over the past 20 years, the Ministry of Education and Training has presided over the implementation of two human resource training projects at doctoral and master levels, including, the project titled “Training scientific and technical staff at educational institutions abroad with the State budget” according to Decision No. 322/2000/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister implemented from 2000 to 2005, lasting until 2010 (referred to as Project 322). On 18th January 2019, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 89/QD-TTg approving the project tilted “Improving the capacity of lecturers and managers at institutions of higher education to meet the requirements for fundamental and comprehensive renovation of education and training in the period of 2019 - 2030”. The project aims to build a contingent of lecturers and managers of higher education institutions with quality assurance, reasonable structure, meeting the requirements of fundamental and comprehensive education reform, training high-quality human resources, and developing science and technology for the country, associated with the requirements of entrepreneurship and renovation, meeting the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. One of the specific objectives of the Project is to provide doctoral training for about 10% of university lecturers, ensuring reasonable quality and structure, of which 7% of lecturers are trained full-time abroad; 3% of lecturers are trained domestically and cooperation between Vietnamese universities and foreign universities meeting quality standards in the region and the world. The project also strives for 80% of lecturers at schools focused on culture, the arts, physical education, and sports to gain a master’s degree or higher, training full-time abroad and at home to meet regional and world quality standards as well as a reasonable structure.

In the field of literature and arts, the Project “Training and fostering highly qualified cadres and teachers for the period 2011-2020” was approved by the Prime Minister. Decision No. 1243/QD-TTg issued by the Prime Minister dated 25th July 2011 approving the Project “Renovating and improving the training quality of arts and culture schools in the period 2011-2020”. The Ministries of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Justice, and the localities, etc., have all developed projects regarding training and developing high-quality human resources, intellectual teams for their ministries, branches, and localities meeting the requirements of the country’s development process.

In the field of leadership and management, special attention has been paid to developing a team of intellectual and managing cadre, which is very important, because of the viewpoint that cadres are the root of all work, and the work of cadre is a crucial task of the Party. On 19th May 2018, Resolution No. 26-NQ/TW was issued by the 12th Central Executive Committee on focusing on building a contingent of cadres at all levels, especially at the strategic level, with sufficient quality, capacity, and prestige, on par with the level of assigned task. Then, on 2nd January 2020, Regulation No. 214-QD/TW was issued by the Politburo stipulating the “Framework of title standards and criteria for evaluating cadres belonging to the Central Committee, the Politburo, Management Secretariat” superseding Regulation No. 90-QD/TW dated 4th August 2017 of the Politburo with many important additions and amendments. Continuing in this spirit, the 13th National Party Congress emphasized the focus on building a contingent of strategic-level officials associated with the roles and responsibilities of leaders of organizations, agencies, localities, and units.

With the implementation of the system of documents and regulations of the Party, State, ministries, branches, and localities, the work of building and developing intellectuals for many years to come has been given great importance, thereby creating a driving force to promote the development of the intellectuals for our country, growing in quantity, increasing in quality, and having a more and more reasonable structure. This is the foundation for this workforce to constantly work to reach the level of the intellectual workforces in advanced countries in the region and the world, making an important contribution to the cause of renovation and building the country towards socialism.

Secondly, the scale of domestic higher education institutions is constantly increasing, and the quality of training is also gradually improved.

Thoroughly grasping the Party’s viewpoint: “Synchronously building institutions and policies to effectively implement the policy of education and training together with science and technology is the top national priority and a key driving force for the development of the country”(2), after more than 35 years of renovation, the network of education and training institutions has developed widely throughout the country. The content of education has increasingly met the demands of economic, cultural-societal, scientific and technological development, with an emphasis on training high-level scientific and technological human resources to meet the diverse requirements of technology and the level of development of various sectors and industries, especially with a focus on training human resources to meet the requirements of digital technology and closely following the needs of the market.

In recent years, the educational methods have undergone positive changes towards promoting initiative and the creative nature of learners, strengthening practical skills, self-learning skills, and digital skills, etc. Information technology is applied more and more widely in the training process and makes an important contribution to the socialization of education, while also helping learners have faster access to new knowledge from around the world. As a result, both the quantity and quality of the intellectual team have been raised.

Thirdly, investment in education, training, science, and technology from both state budgets and society have been increasingly on the rise. The link between science and technology with education and training, between scientific research and business - production has become increasingly close.

Although the state budget is still limited, the annual expenditure on education is approximately 20%, equivalent to 5% of GDP(3). The State increased investment from various sources, has attaches importance to encouraging enterprises of all economic sectors to build a number of scientific urban areas and high-tech zones (Hoa Lac - Hanoi City; Ho Chi Minh City; Da Nang City), science - production complexes, key universities, modern cultural centers to promote the creative research activities of domestic and foreign intellectuals; expanding international cooperation and exchanges in science - technology, education - training, culture - arts, etc.

In recent years, social investment, mainly from enterprises, in science and technology has also been on the rise. As a result, technical infrastructure, equipment, laboratories for research, and application of science and technology have been upgraded and improved significantly. Science and technology information infrastructure has made qualitative progress on the basis of widespread application of the internet, digital technology, and electronic libraries. It has created a favorable environment for intellectual research and creativity.

The socialization of education has achieved important results, especially in mobilizing resources to invest in building school facilities, opening schools, and contributing funds for education. Investment sources for education are increasingly strictly controlled and effectiveness is increasing.

Over the past years, stemming from the requirements of the market, the process of industrialization and modernization associated with the knowledge economy, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the State has attached great importance to developing research institutes that operate following the business model. In enterprises of this type, human resources engaged in high-level scientific research play a pivotal role, ability to initiate and innovate technology, research management processes, production, and business development of the enterprise.  From this some good types of connections have emerged between scientific research, technology development, and production - business.

According to this model, the training program is aimed at improving practical capacity, equipping learners with scientific research skills associated with practical technology development and working environment. However, to build and develop this training model effectively, it is necessary to build a highly practical curriculum framework that is relevant to the practical work environment of the enterprise while ensuring timely updating of rapid technological changes, especially in high-tech, digital fields and professions.

In addition to the basic results achieved, in general, mechanisms and policies on training and fostering intellectuals during the implementation process have also revealed limitations and inadequacies:

Firstly, resolutions and documents are slow to be implemented; There are many shortcomings in educational management.

Although Resolution 27 was issued in 2008, defining the goal of “building a strategy to develop intellectuals until 2020”, yet, the guidelines and policies of the Party and the State on developing intellectuals are still slow to be concretized and institutionalized by legal documents; the work of leading and directing the implementation of the Resolution of the Party has not resolute; inspection and supervision are not regular. For example, it was not until May 2020 that the Ministry of Science and Technology together with representatives of central ministries and branches had the first meeting of the Drafting Board and Editorial Team of the National Strategy Project on the development of intellectuals in the period 2021-2030.

Project “Improving the capacity of lecturers and managers of institutions of higher education to meet the requirements of fundamental and comprehensive renovation of education and training in the period of 2019 - 2030” according to Decision No. 89/QD-TTg approved by the Prime Minister in 2019, has so far has not been implemented.

It is the stagnation in the implementation of the Party’s guidelines and resolutions, the State’s policies and laws that have been a barrier, limiting the development of our country’s intellectual workforce over the past 15 years. Moreover, the education system is still backward, not able to meet the demand for quantity and quality of highly qualified human resources, especially intellectuals and leading experts in various fields.

The management of education still has many shortcomings, and the responsibility and authority for professional management are not linked to personnel and financial management responsibilities and authorities. Research shows that many programs and projects are both slow to be implemented and have revealed many inadequacies. For example: Decision No. 911/QD-TTg approved by the Prime Minister on 17th June 2010, implementing the project “Training lecturers with doctoral degrees for universities and colleges for the period 2010 - 2020” (referred to as Project 911). This project, which was implemented at the end of 2016, has revealed a series of limitations, such as: low training effectiveness, failure to meet the set goals in all three forms of domestic training, overseas training, and cooperative training between Vietnamese universities and foreign universities; some of the 9 doctoral training centers established and funded under the scheme operate inefficiently, not in accordance with their functions, causing great waste to the state budget. Recently, the State Audit Conclusion recommended financial sanctions for the Ministry of Education and Training totaling more than VND 53 billion(4).

The legal system and policies on education are not consistent and slow to be amended and supplemented. The weakness in education and training management, especially the lax management of postgraduate education, and the shortcomings and outdatedness of the training program have resulted in many people being trained at the postgraduate level but not meeting the requirements of the labor market, research and innovation in the field of science and technology, especially high-tech fields. In fact, the human resource training management mechanism, especially the training of intellectuals, is one of the weak and negative links that need to be overcome soon.

Secondly, the content of the program and methods of training intellectuals have been slow to be renovated.

The program content is still heavy on theory, and basic research, less practical and far from real-life, and has low applicability. Methods and forms of teaching are still mainly one-way knowledge transmission with an imposition and “cramming” of knowledge; The training and fostering to improve the capacity and digital skills for intellectuals has not been a focus. The number of colleges and universities is constantly increasing, but the training programs and quality seem difficult to control, leading to the phenomenon of “fake study” - real degree; negative events in the education system causing public outrage. This leads to the fact that our country’s intellectuals are numerous in quantity but not qualified. The structure and distribution of knowledge are still inadequate; there is a serious shortage in leading experts and equivalent titles; inadequacies in the next generation of intellectuals. The shortage of talented staff in science, technology, business, leadership as well as management is threatening to reduce competitiveness and inhibit the pace of socio-economic development of the country.

Thirdly, the technical and material facilities for the training and fostering of intellectuals are still lacking and in many places are still backward.

In order to ensure the quality of training in general, especially the training of intellectuals, the requirements for advanced and modern material and technical facilities are extremely necessary. But at present, in most of the higher education institutions, facilities, techniques and technologies are lacking, outdated and slow to innovate. The number of equipment of the schools mostly does not meet the practical needs of students and according to the requirements of the training program, many training institutions do not meet the standards.

2. Some recommendations to improve mechanisms and policies on training and fostering Vietnamese intellectuals by 2030, with a vision towards 2045

Firstly, a unified understanding of knowledge, which serves as a basis for building a national database on the intellectual workforce.

Currently, there is no consensus on the content of the concept of knowledge. This is a big barrier in the investigation, survey, and management of this team at all levels. Only when the content of the concept of “intellectual” is clearly defined can it be determined who the intellectuals are, in terms of quantity, quality, and qualifications, then there is a scientific basis for conducting investigations, statistics on quantity, quality, mechanisms and policies on intellectuals, from which it is possible to come up with the right and feasible solutions to implement in this team development strategy. Therefore, the research and implementation of scientific topics on intellectuals should soon have a consensus in perception, especially clearly defining a set of criteria as a basis for identifying and classifying intellectuals.

Unified understanding of knowledge is also an important scientific basis for building a national database of intellectuals, as a basis for connecting and sharing data among ministries, branches, and localities. Based on this national database, ministries, branches, and localities rely on their practical situation to build their own data system on the intellectual workforce to serve effectively the management, training, use, and appreciation of the intellectual workforce, as well as to build development strategies for the intellectual workforce of their own ministry, branch, and locality in a proactive and efficient way..

Secondly, comprehensive review of mechanisms and policies on training and fostering the intellectual workforce as a basis for supplementing and perfecting the policy system or issuing new resolutions and strategies on development of intellectuals to 2030, with a vision towards 2045.

It is necessary to focus on reviewing existing legal documents related to knowledge and the training of the intellectual workforce. On that basis, evaluate the suitability, and the value of the documents and the obsolescence which are no longer relevant, or overlap to propose the competent authority to amend, supplement or abolish. At the same time, it is also the basis for proposing the development of a national strategy on the development of intellectuals to meet the requirements of the new situation. The formulation of the “National strategy on developing the intellectual workforce to 2030, with a vision towards 2045” is also aimed at realizing the guiding views of the Party at the 13th National Congress: “Building an increasingly strong and high-quality intellectual workforce that meets the country’s development requirements in the new situation”(5).

Thirdly, to develop specific policies to train, foster and develop the country’s talents; prioritize the development of intellectuals who are leaders and managers in key fields.

Resolution No. 27-NQ/TW has clearly defined the policy that valuing intellectuals based of properly assessing their quality, capacity, and dedication; has a special policy towards the country’s talents. However, from 2008 until now, the Party’s points of view has not been institutionalized into policies through legal documents. The Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress also determined that there is a need for a breakthrough mechanism to attract and utilize talent. Therefore, there is a need to make fundamental changes in training and nurturing knowledge to ensure the quality of general education and build effective mechanisms and policies to train talent to improve the quality of the intellectual workforce and develop talent for the country. In particular, it is important to develop specific strategies and policies to identify, train, and nurture young talents, those who have contributed in practical activities, ethnic minority intellectuals, and female intellectuals. Encourage intellectuals to regularly improve their professional qualifications, strongly arouse patriotism, national self-reliance, and the aspiration to bring the country to a prosperous and happy development. With that in mind, in the coming time, it is necessary to urgently issue the “National strategy on developing the intellectuals for the period 2021-2030, with a vision towards 2045” and the “National talent development strategy”. The 13th National Party Congress also set the task of “prioritizing the development of human resources for leadership, management and key fields on the basis of improvement, creating a strong, comprehensive and fundamental change in the quality of education and training associated with the mechanism of recruitment, use, and treatment of talents, promoting research, transfer, application and strong development of science and technology and renovation”(6). This is one of the strategic breakthroughs and a new key point in the context of rapid development of science and technology. Therefore, it is necessary to have leaders and heads with good qualities, high qualifications, and modern management skills to contribute to the rapid and sustainable development of the country. They are also the direct subjects involved in building the strategies for developing the intellectual workforce at all levels, branches, and localities. Accordingly, in the coming time, the Government needs to study and propose a plan to develop a project for developing human resources for leadership and management in key fields.

Fourthly, ensure a democratic mechanism and invest in modern material and technical foundations and create a favorable environment and conditions to promote the creative activities of intellectuals.

Creativity is a prominent feature in the activities of intellectuals, but they can only be creative when the democratic mechanism is guaranteed. Therefore, it is necessary to create a truly democratic environment and conditions for scientific research, to respect and listen to the opinions and suggestions of intellectuals. At the same time, increase investment in the development of advanced material and technical foundations for the learning, research, and creativity of intellectuals, in which, focus on cutting-edge fields of science and the technology industries. Affirming this, our Party clearly states: “There must be a mechanism to promote democracy, creative freedom, and promote ethics and responsibility in scientific research”(7), in order to “arouse creativity, improve responsibility and respect for differences in research in the humanities and social sciences”(8).

Knowledge is an invaluable asset of the nation, “investment in building a workforce of intellectuals is an investment in sustainable development”(9). Training and fostering a workforce of intellectuals shall be built on the foundation of scientific thinking. Although certain results have been achieved, the problem of reforming mechanisms and policies on training and fostering intellectuals still has many limitations that need to be overcome. With the right guidance and policies of the Party and the State to unite, gather, and promote the team of intellectuals, it is certain that the Vietnamese team of intellectuals will contribute significantly to the cause of building and developing our prosperous and happy country.

_________________

Received: January 30, 2023; Revised: February 8, 2023; Approved for publication: February 21, 2023.

Endnotes:

(1) Decision on approving the Vietnam Human Resource Development Strategy for the period 2011-2020 of the Prime Minister, https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/Lao-dong-Tien-luong/Quyet-dinh-579-QD-TTg-phe-duyet-Chien-luoc-phat-trien-nhan-luc-Viet-Nam-122715.aspx.

(2), (5), (6), (7), (8) CPV: Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, vol.I, Truth National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, pp. 136, 167, 203-204, 167, 227.

(3) The budget for education still has many shortcomings, https://baoquocte.vn/ngan-sach-cho-Giao-duc-con-nhieu-bat-cap-81691.html,

(4) The Ministry of Education and Training is recommended to reimburse the budget for more than 53 billion VND, https://vnexpress.net/bo-Giao-duc-bi-kien-nghi-boi-hoan-ngan-sach-hon-53- ty-dong-3696210.html, January 9, 2018.

(9) Resolution of the 7th Conference of the 10th Central Committee (No. 27-NQ/TW, dated 6th August 2008 on building a contingent of intellectuals in the period of accelerating industrialization and modernization of the country). CPV: Comple Party Documents, vol.67, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2018, pgs.792-807.

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