VietNamNet Bridge – A programme to send 1,000 government and university staff in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta abroad for post-graduate training has been unevenly regional implemented among the 13 provinces.
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The Mekong 1,000 programme (2005-15), chaired by Can Tho University, was launched as a platform project for high-level human resource training in the region.
The programme, worth nearly US$50 million and funded by 13 provinces and one city in the region, aims to promote the region’s development goals through training young university staff and provincial administrators.
But in some provinces, it has not even kicked off, primarily due to a lack of funding, and delays in other provinces have been caused by the low foreign language (mostly English) skills of candidates.
Meanwhile, some overseas universities have increased the target language requirement score for candidates.
For the IELTS test, for example, a score of 6.0 or 6.5 is now needed compared to the previous 5.5, and for TOEFL, the score has risen from 450 to 500 or 550.
Programme administrators said few candidates had chosen the majors of social sciences and humanities, medicine and public health, or public administration management, and instead have focused on a narrow range of majors.
Bui Van Binh, manager of Tra Vinh Province’s Department of Education and Training, said about 100 staff from different departments and sectors have applied to study abroad.
In many of the province’s districts, no one had applied because of the lack of foreign language competence, he said.
Some provinces, like Tien Giang, Kien Giang and Ben Tre, have not sent any candidate abroad for training, mostly because of budget problems.
Nguyen Quoc Bao, vice chairman of the Ben Tre Province People’s Committee, said a programme to send 50 candidates (40 Master’s and 10 PhDs) abroad from the 2006–11 period had not kicked off due to the provinces’ limited budget.
Although Ben Tre Province has a policy to subsidise half of the total fees to study abroad, candidates cannot afford to pay the rest ($20,000), Bao said.As an alternative to studying abroad, Bao said candidates should be trained in international universities that have branches in Viet Nam to save money.
In addition, Bao said the students could study at local prestigious universities like Polytechnic University, Medical University, Economics University and others.
Bui Hong Phuong, vice-chairwoman of the Bac Lieu Province People’s Committee, has asked the Ministry of Education and Training to build an educational aid centre that offers consulting services for PhD training, and a regional foreign language centre in the Delta.
So far, 508 candidates in the Delta region have been selected to go abroad for training. Of that total, 200 candidates are now studying abroad and 308 are preparing for future study.
Candidates can choose their majors among many fields, including mechanics, engineering and technology, information and telecommunications, food sciences and technology, civil engineering, transportation, water supply, material sciences, chemical technology, social sciences, biotechnology, urban planning and management, architecture, economics, financing, trading and banking, law, public relations, international relations and public health.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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