HCM CITY – The Government wants public colleges to become autonomous in order to be competitive, but many of them are worried about such a move, especially the financial aspect.
They are worried autonomy would cause them to lose Government funding forcing them to hike fees.
At a workshop on autonomy and solutions for public colleges held yesterday by HCM City Technical and Economic College, Dr Phạm Xuân Thu, head of the business administration faculty at the College Of Foreign Economic Relations in the city’s Phú Nhuận District, said such a hike could lose them students.
Current enrolment policies make it easier than ever for students to get into universities, he said.
This is on top of an existing preference for universities over colleges, he said.
At least one million students pass out of high school every year, but this year the country’s 142 out of 234 colleges have only received 1,000 applications each on average. About 100 colleges each has received only between 38 and 42 applications, said Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, director of the Nguyễn Tất Thành University.
Trần Nguyễn Minh Nhựt of the HCM City College of Economics’ quality assurance division said the number of students studying in colleges was not consistent.
Many of them stop studying in colleges and move instead to universities, he said.
With such a small student population, it is not an option for colleges to fund themselves from fees, he added.
Nguyễn Thị Hằng, rector of the HCM City Vocational College of Technology, said hers was one of three colleges to pilot an autonomy programme last year.
“We have autonomy in finances, training programmes, lecturer recruitment and others. We are allowed to hike tuition fees.”
After doubling the fees to VNĐ16 million (US$711) this year the college only managed to get half the number of students as last year, she said.
“However, I still advocate the government’s policies on autonomy for public colleges. This policy is right.”
Lưu Đức Tiến, rector of the Vạn Xuân Technology and Technical College in the city’s Gò Vấp, said public colleges should not be too worried because the Government has promised that with autonomy it would find a way to fund them.
Phạm Ngọc Thanh, deputy head of the city Department of Education and Training, said public colleges in the city should soon set up a road map to become autonomous.
The General Directorate of Vocational Training should set up training courses for managers and staff of public colleges for the purpose, he said. – VNS