The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)'s recent survey of nearly 200 public universities and colleges across the country showed that many schools failed to meet infrastructural standards and regulations.
The findings of the survey, which was the first of its kind, were announced Monday at a conference held by the ministry.
It showed that schools provided 3.6 square meters per student on average, while regulations require that they provide six square meters per student as regulated. In developed countries, students typically occupy between nine and 15 square meters.
Infrastructural factors that have a direct impact on training like labs and libraries were also deemed insufficient, MoET said.
Nearly 50 percent of the surveyed labs were considered outdated, it stressed.
According to representatives from several universities, their labs are consistently overloaded throughout the day. At some schools, five to ten students share a single tool kit while conducting experiments, the survey showed.
Tran Duy Tao, chief of the education ministry’s infrastructure department, told members of the conference that many public universities lack libraries.
Some 21 students share a single spot at their school libraries on average, according to the survey.
The same situation was reported at the schools' sport centers and health care clinics.
Tao attributed the deficiencies to limited budgets.
However, Nguyen Truong Giang from the Ministry of Finance said the budgets assigned to higher education have already reached their acme.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said it’s unreasonable to expect budgets alone to improve school infrastructure. Nhan charged that schools must rely on reforms in management as well.
Representatives from several schools suggested sharing facilities and equipment within a school or a group of schools.
Tran Tien Phuc from Nha Trang University in the central resort town of Nha Trang said if some schools have good quality labs and agree to share them with others, it will help tackle the problem in the immediate future.
Nhan added that university presidents should meet to explore that suggestion.
In the meantime, MoET was ordered to update its plan to establish an e-library system in cooperation with Russia in the first quarter of next year so that schools can begin registering to attend it.