The Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training has ordered many private universities to stop offering financial incentives to lure applicants in its recent dispatch to the schools.
A leaflet issued by Eastern International University in the southern province of Binh Duong. The school is offering appealing scholarships to draw students.
It warns inspection will be soon conducted at universities nationwide, and any violations of the country’s enrolment rules will be penalized.
The move comes after a report by Tuoi Tre newspaper saying many such schools are using cash, scholarships and even commissions as bait to entice applicants since very few students consider applying to them, especially for newly-established private colleges.
The ministry absolutely disapproves of this mode of enrolment, Vice Minister Bui Van Ga insists to the newspaper in an interview.
It does adversely affect the image of the country’s education sector when those schools resort to cash to attract applicants, he asserts.
Ga says the schools should spend time improving their education quality to draw students as enrolling this way is just a band-aid solution to their current enrolment problem.
Otherwise, it would be a big waste when students may quit those schools after finding out the quality is not up to their expectations, he warns.
This is an unusual phenomenon that will create a bad impression on students and the whole society, the official remarks.
Professor Pham Minh Hac, chairman of the Vietnam Former Teachers' Association, says using money to “buy students” like this is unprecedented.
But paying to get applicants as many private universities are doing is no strange thing to Dr Mai Ngoc Luong, former director of the high school education research centre of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy’s Education Research Institute.
It is just one of the tricks many have come up with to make a killing in the “lucrative” education sector, he explains.
In one way or another, this enrolment method would subvert the prestige of Vietnamese universities, Luong says.
Prof Hac cautions those schools are commercialising education, and will always be the gainers while the learners the losers at the end of the day.
This is just a normal marketing gimmick, many schools have argued, claiming there is nothing wrong with what they have been doing to attract learners so far.
Private universities and junior colleges have quickly mushroomed during the last couple of years in the country but very few of them can meet their enrolment targets.
Doubtful quality and inadequate teaching and learning facilities are among the reasons why a small number of students apply to the schools.