Tuesday, 21/11/2017
Socialization of education in Vietnam-Current issues to be resolved
8/11/2017 21:18' Send Print
Illustration image. Source: State Organization Magazine

During the process of socialization of education , Vietnam’s education has made new developments. The inclusion and participation of people from all walks of life have contributed to realizing the human development strategy. The education network has grown fast, the quality and efficiency of the training system have constantly developed at all levels, building many models of learning communities. However, education and training in Vietnam are still weak and inadequate in terms of scale, structure, quality and efficiency, falling short of demands for international integration, industrialization and modernization of the country. There remain limitations in realizing socialization of education policy. In fact, in many places socialization of education has not brought into full play its inherent strength, greatly affecting the development of education and resulting in gaps in education enjoyment. On the other hand, until now awareness on socialization of education is not complete, in particular, sometimes confused with other concepts, such as commercialization of education or education marketization. This raises a number of problems to be addressed in order to improve socialization of education in Vietnam in the years to come.

Current issues in socialization of education in Vietnam

First, the relation between increasing education and training scale and quality assurance must be addressed.

After more than 20 years of implementation, socialization of education has been widely deployed throughout the country and gained certain achievements. The national education system has been increasingly developed with diversified forms from public to non-public educational institutions. By the end of the 2014-2015 school year, the total number of educational institutions in the sector was 43,871, of which 41,248 were public institutions accounting for 94%, 2,626 non-public schools accounting for 6%; the total number of students was 20,889,029, of which 1,323,797 students attended non-public schools accounting for 6.4%. In remote and isolated, ethnic minorities, disadvantaged areas, given the attention of all levels including the government, social organizations, businesses and international organizations, enrolment has increased.

However, socialization of education has developed mainly in scale and number of education and training establishments, while the quality of education and training has not met expectation, falling short of requirements of international integration, not synchronized from kindergarten to higher education, and there are differences between school levels, even among schools. Constraints in socialization of education remain hence education quality, especially higher education quality is not high. Some educational institutions, not only non-public but even public ones, for their immediate economic benefit have violated regulations on educational quality assurance, such as over enrollments that surpass the capacity of facilities; granting of education and training permits to organizations without infrastructure or not having sufficient teachers and lecturers. Some educational institutions have pursued profits, not really paying attention to providing quality education services to learners. Therefore, despite the lack of facilities, and quality teaching staff, they have still enrolled higher number of students than permitted. Some institutions without training functions and permission from the Ministry of Education and Training have still carry out training cooperation with foreign countries. Some establishments without sufficient staff as regulated have still opened new disciplines. Therefore, the result of socialization of education in Vietnam is not high, and not fully promoted potential of a studious people to develop education.

Second, the relation between renovation of curricula, content, and education-training methods and resources for implementing that innovation must be addressed.

The new role of education in the intellectual era is the root of educational reform, which requires the world to "embark" on trends, such as innovation in content and methodology; education modernization; online learning, distance learning and training; and building a learning society. In Vietnam, the renovation of content, curricula and methods of education is now a very urgent requirement. The 12th Party Congress affirmed: "The education and training system lacks linkages between levels and modes of education and training; more attention is given to theory, and less on practice. Training is not linked to scientific research, production, business and labor market needs; Due attention has not been paid to educating ethnic, lifestyle and working skills. The method of education, examinations, tests and evaluation of performance are outdated and impractical." (1)

Renovation of educational content and programs must be based on the educational objectives, in line with the country's demands and the world's development trend, and set different requirements for each educational level and each type of education. It can be asserted that the content and program of old education, one-time study for life-time work, is completely different from those of the education that encourages "continuous learning, lifelong learning" to adapt to rapid development of science and technology, changes of occupations and labor structure in the market economy and international integration. Along with the renewal of content, and programs, it is necessary to renovate the method of education, shifting from "teaching-handing down" to innovative methods of education; acquire and effectively apply creative methods of teaching and learning of the world, especially the application of information technology in teaching; pay attention to distance education, online learning, and education for all to build a learning society.

The problem is that the renewal of content, programs and methods of education and training needs ethical and qualified educators, as well as sufficient and effective use of fund for education. This is not the work and responsibility of each teacher, each school, the education sector only but also relevant agencies, departments, branches and must be directed in scientific research, development and implementation.

Third, the relationship between state management and community supervision of education and training must be addressed.

State management of education can be considered the key to ensuring the success of all education and training activities. Only through the state management of education, can the implementation of national education policy and guidelines, the enhancement of investment efficiency in education, the realization of educational objectives, and the improvement of the education quality be achieved. In order to effectively socialize education and contribute to the development of Vietnam’s education, the State management of education must be strengthened, promoted and combined with the supervision of the community.

In the years of socialization of education, certain innovations have been made in the state management and community supervision of education suitable to the development of education and training, bringing about certain results contributing to the development of education in Vietnam. However, the management of the State and the supervision of the community is still inadequate to meet requirements of socio-economic development and people’s learning needs.

The State management is sometimes either rigid or loosened; policies and mechanisms are not specific, clear, synchronized, and suitable to the socialist-oriented market mechanism. Social forces have not been well organized and coordinated to proactively and actively participate in socialization of education. The management of socialization of education and training is slowly reformed, and basically is still influenced by the bureaucratic centrally-planed mechanism. Some views, guidelines and policies on socialization of education have not caught up with the new situation, the development of socialist-oriented market economy and international integration. Therefore, the mechanism of “asking and granting” of permits to establish non-public educational institutions has resulted in many negative phenomena, some officials have taken advantage of public authority assigned to them for their personal gains.

In addition, loosened management has led to over collection of fees under the excuse of socialization of education by educational institutions. This phenomenon has caused much public resentment and has not yet been thoroughly overcome. According to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), household expenditure for a learner includes first tuition fees account for 27%, extra class tuition fees 20%, contribution to school construction 11%, textbooks 11%, learning kits 9%, other expenses 22%. (2) This has a great impact on people’s life, especially the poor households which cannot afford or have to borrow money for their children’s schooling.

The decentralization of education management from the central to local level, and to educational institution has not been completed to create autonomy and dynamism for localities and educational institutions, leading to confusion between institutional management functions and operational functions of educational establishments; administrative agencies have intervened deeply in the operational activities of education institutions, not paying due attention to the institutional management function. In addition, the coordination between related branches to implement the lines of the Party and State in localities is not in time and synchronized. Stakeholders in each community have not been well organized and coordinated to prevent negative phenomena from entering the community and schools. Therefore, the socialization of education has not been unified among localities, regions and areas. The establishment of educational institutions, especially non-public ones, is spontaneous, lack of thorough survey, and preparation for quality assurance of teaching and learning conditions, hence they cannot enroll enough students and non-public education institution have faced disintegration.

The State and community inspection and supervision of the education and training institutions have not been conducted regularly and seriously. Thus, some institutions lack discipline in training management, and diploma and certificate issuance; lack responsibility; show signs of perfunctoriness, and inconsistency in handling of violations; inspection has not been widely and evenly carried out; and management of records in some localities and institutions is poor. Therefore, over the past time, the use of illegal diplomas and certificates (fake diplomas and certificates, original diplomas and certificates with changed contents, original diplomas and certificates granted without following due training process, or by unauthorized levels). What is more worrying is the phenomenon of "fake study, original certificate," meaning training regulations are not seriously observed (from enrollment to study, exam assessment and graduation), leads to issuance of degrees and certificates to unqualified learners, and low quality education and training. This phenomenon occurs in all training levels and is common in the informal education, in-service training, and distance education. Hence, strengthening state management and community supervision of education and training in general and socialization of education in particular are necessary, contributing to improving quality and efficiency of education in Vietnam in the current period.

Recommendations to improve the socialization of education in Vietnam

First, renew awareness and clarify the content of educational socialization.

Socialization of education is a long-term correct strategy of the Party and State in the development of education in Vietnam. Consequently, it is necessary to have correct awareness on socialization of education. This is the basis for effective mobilization of resources and participation of the whole society in the process.

Socialization must be understood as the process of transferring education content and tasks which the State does not necessarily have to perform for people to non-state organizations to implement on the basis of observing regulations and standards required by the State to mobilize resources to jointly achieve the goal of improving the quality of education, ensuring the right to education and education of people to build a learning society.

Socialization of education does not mean to transfer of the State’s function as education provider to other organizations or individuals, but rather to include other stakeholders in the provision of education and expand beneficiaries of education. Socialization of education does not mean the State loses its leading role in the cause of education development. Despite the engagement of different stakeholders, the State is always accountable for the ultimate political and legal responsibility in providing educational services to people and society.

Thus, socialization of education includes the following basic contents: renovating the mechanism of education activities in the spirit of democratization; diversify investment resources for education development from the state budget, investors, businesses and social organizations at home and abroad; diversify types of schools and training forms; mobilize social forces to participate in all activities of education; institutionalize rights, obligations and responsibilities of stakeholders participating in education development under the State management.

Second, socialization of education should be carried out in both scope and scale to improve human resource quality, meeting the needs of national and international development.

On the one hand, it is necessary to step up mobilization of resources from all stakeholders involved in education. For the construction of educational and training establishments, the State shall continue to create conditions for organizations and individuals to expand their capacity if such establishments meet all conditions regulated by the State. Information on educational and training institutions that have been and will be operating must be made public to enhance social oversight and response to ensure the management and quality of education. In addition, institutions that violate state regulations, being either public or non-public, must be sanctioned; education and training institutions which do not meet required conditions and violate the regulations of the State must be closed down.

On the other hand, it is necessary to continue diversifying public, and non-public types of schools, focusing on secondary and vocational levels; higher education will only expand in those provinces which are in need of training local human resources while restricting opening more higher education institutions in major cities. For newly established educational institutions, besides meeting State standards and norms, institutions at each levels must implement their corresponding tasks to achieve the objectives of modern education. For general education, it is necessary to ensure comprehensive education and clear education orientation. For vocational training and higher education, it is necessary to build and improve the quality of multi-disciplinary education institutions in localities to turn out local human resources to meet development requirements of localities, contributing to building a learning society. In addition, it is necessary to build key and spearhead universities at national or regional levels in order to train high quality human resources and talents, especially for key sectors of science and technology. Accordingly, the current mode of recruitment and training should be renewed. At the same time, adequate investment must be made to infrastructure, equipment and facilities that meet the requirements of modern education.

Besides, education and training should be closely linked to the development of society, especially the demand for human resources. The State needs to have a strategy for developing human resources, accurately forecasting the demand for specific human resources for each period, each sector, each region and each locality. Accordingly, educational institutions develop and implement training plans in line with national and international requirements. Or more specifically, training will be made on order from the State or localities to turn out high quality human resources for industries and sectors that are being developed.

Education institutions and businesses establish close relationships, building binding mechanism for mutually benefit. They can carry out joint training by sending a number of staff and lecturers to work in enterprises every year and vice versa sending skilled, qualified and experienced staff from businesses to provide guidance to students’ practice. Businesses need to take initiative to look for human resources for the present and future by approaching educational institutions. If necessary, businesses can make investment, for several years together with training institutions, in new disciplines and accept higher training costs in order to obtain high quality human resources for their own businesses.

Thus, by strengthening close relationship the State, localities, businesses and education institutions solve the shortage, redundancy and low quality of human resources which cannot meet the demands of society.

Third, renovate training content and methods to raise qualification, quality and capabilities of teachers and educational administrators.

Socialization of education must be done in tandem with fundamental and comprehensive reform of education and training. In addition to attracting investment resources, diversifying types of schools and training, it is necessary to renovate educational content, programs and methods. However, the effective renewal of content, programs and teaching methods depends on the quality and capacity of teachers and educational administrators.

The renewal of educational content, programs and methods should be closely linked to the training and retraining of teachers and educational administrators. Only when the new implementers identify and understand clearly the requirements, goals and contents of each level, grade and discipline can they effective implement them. Documents of the 12th Party Congress stated: " Develop the contingent of teachers and educational administrators in order to meet the requirements of education and training reform. Standardize the contingent of teachers according to each education and training level." (3) For teachers, a new capability framework should be developed in line with human comprehensive education in the era of industrialization and modernization and the trend of globalization. For education managers, apart from specialization, they need to have deep knowledge about human and social values and cultural values of the new age. It is necessary to clearly distinguish between the training of state management officials in charge of education and professional managers.

Next, there should be mechanisms and policies to improve teachers’ professional qualifications-the key factors decisive to the quality of education and training. In order to have ethical and talented teachers, it is necessary to regularly train and standardize teachers at all grades and levels; effectively combine teaching with scientific research in order to raise teachers’ professional qualifications and skills; implement decent salary policy for teachers to live on their profession, and dedicate to improving the quality of teaching; offer worthy incentives to attract qualified scientists and trainers at home and abroad to carry out research and teach at universities, especially pedagogical universities as well as attract good students to pedagogy discipline.

Fourth, renovate and strengthen the State management as well as the supervision and supervision of the community.

Strengthen the formulation and improvement of specific and consistent mechanisms and policies to effectively implement socialization of education. The State must have specific and transparent regulations on issues, such as mechanisms and policies to facilitate equality between public and non-public educational institutions; protect ownership of organizations and individuals when they contribute investment capital; and protect freedom to choose investment forms, and operating mechanisms (profit, non-profit). Complete mechanisms and policies to promote education and encourage talents. Formulate suitable mechanism of wage, and social insurance for laborers to ensure equality between public and non-public educational establishments. On the other hand, the State should issue regulations on social criticism in order to create conditions and promote the role of supervision, consultation, evaluation of society in the field of education.

Renovate implementation methods in line with the requirements of socialization of education, such as: on management, strengthen unified management of public and non-public educational institutions; clearly assign and decentralize the specific tasks to each level and branch; set up a steering committee for the implementation of the policy on socialization of education at all levels for concentrated instruction and operation and intensify intersectoral coordination in the organization of implementation; clearly define responsibilities, objectives, contents and forms of management of education establishments; enhance the supervision of the Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, social organizations and individuals over investment and projects in education. Regarding planning, the State needs to review, supplement and complete the planning of the education sector and the network of educational establishments from pre-school to post-graduate levels in each area in a rational manner. Continue to promoting socialization of public service delivery units capable of self-financing by assigning autonomy and self-responsibility for them to carry out their tasks, finance, personnel and encourage the establishment of public service delivery units in the education and training sector. On the other hand, for educational projects, the State needs to publicize planning of educational sector, network, land fund, portfolio of investment projects to attract resources. Regarding inspection and supervision, the State continues to perfect the system of education quality accreditation, intensify periodical inspection, and supervision of training programs and quality of educational establishments; publicize periodical inspection reports. Standardize quality assurance and management of the training process, attach importance to output quality; and build independent accreditation system. Implement the mechanism to encourage learners to evaluate educational process; teachers participate in staff assessment; educational and training establishments evaluate the State management agencies in charge of education.

Fifth, increase mobilization and effective use of investment in education.

In recent years, along with the policy of socialization of education, the State budget for education has increased significantly. However, per capital education and training investment is still low compared to other countries in the world. It is therefore necessary to spend larger share of State budget to education to create radical change in education scale and quality. With 20% of the state budget allocated to education, the State needs to invest in a number of levels and key institutions in the national education system. Priority should be given to pre-school and secondary education in order to achieve universalization of pre-school education for 5-year-old children, improve the quality of universal education in subsequent years and reduce tuition fees for general education before 2020.

At the same time, mobilize contributions of socio-economic organizations, and effectively use trained human resources. Encourage linkage between public education establishment with reputable private educational institutions at home and abroad. Adopt policies to encourage healthy competition in education and training.

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(1) Documents of the 12th National Party Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, 2016, p. 114

(2) Nguyen Minh Phuong: Promoting socialization of education and healthcare in Vietnam, the National Political Publishing House-Truth, Hanoi, 2012, p. 258

(3) Documents of the 12th National Party Congress, Op.cit, p. 117

This article was published on Communist Review No 899 (September 2017)

TS. Pham Thi Thu HuongHanoi University of Industry