Mekong Delta educationists call for tie-ups

Published: 02/03/2011 05:00

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Collaborative programs between universities will help Mekong Delta provinces improve their educational level and create a skilled workforce, experts said at a conference on education in Can Tho Saturday.

The region’s education system lags far behind that of other areas, they warned.

Strengthening cooperation between universities will make it more affordable, help make full use of all educational aids, and thus improve overall quality, they said.

Cooperative programs will be a key factor in creating a skilled workforce for the region, Dr Ngo Tan Luc, president of Tien Giang University, said.

Assoc Prof Dr Ha Thanh Toan, vice president of Can Tho University, agreed, saying twinning is an inevitable trend.

Assoc Prof Dr Dao Duy Huan of Tay Do University said tying up with reputable universities in Ho Chi Minh City will improve the region’s education.

Many delegates also recommended measures to improve the local system.

They called for a comprehensive master plan that will enable building more universities, increasing teachers’ wages, and setting up links with businesses.

Shortage of skilled workers

The region has a population of 18 million of whom 58 percent are at working ages. But most of the workforce – more than 85 percent – is unskilled.

According to government figures, only 2.1 percent of the working-age population has a university degree while another 0.9 percent finished junior college.

Delegates pointed to the weaknesses in the education system like limited facilities, outdated curriculums and teaching materials, inadequate research, and others.

Many blamed these on long-time problems like inadequate investment in education, poor high school education, high dropout rates, and poor infrastructure.

The Mekong Delta has 11 universities with 70,000 students, 27 junior colleges with 49,000 students, and 35 vocational schools.

But it has a very low university-population ratio of 1:1.5 million compared with the country’s overall 1:570,000.

Seafood processing and agriculture are the region’s major industries but fewer and fewer students are choosing to major in them, which leads to an imbalance in availability of skilled workers.

Majors like culture and sociology are not popular either.

Source: Tuoi Tre

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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