Colleges and universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City must undergo assessment for whether they should be relocated.
One university on the short list to move
This has been at the request by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, who said that the facilities that have been short-listed for relocation or upgrade do not meet the national standard. These schools will have to find room to expand, or move to different locations, maybe along the outskirts, where they will have more space.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), the average space per student at state-owned universities and colleges is 35.7 square metres. This is much smaller than the national standard, set forth in 1985, of between 55 and 85 square metres per student.
The Ministry of Construction recommended that 23 institutions in the inner city of Hanoi should be either relocated or upgraded.
Among those, twelve have been slated for relocation. Among them are Vietnam Trade Union University and Hanoi Law University. The plan is that they be moved to locations in the suburbs like Gia Lam, Soc Son, Son Tay, Hoa Lac and Phu Xuyen.
In the meantime, 11 institutions are in need of upgrades, including Hanoi University of Science and Technology, University of Transport and Communications, and the Banking Academy.
Hanoi is home to 96 universities and colleges; around 660,000 students in total. The city accounts for one third of total number of institutions of higher learning. These teach 40% of the total number of students nationwide.
The MoET attributed the current problem of undersized campuses to a boom in the number of students in recent years. It has bees said that funding, along with the increase in the number of schools are other contributing factors.
At a recent meeting held by MoET, many administrators said that they were having difficulties finding new locations that are adequate.
An official of the Hanoi-based National University of Civil Engineering said, “We expect the understand the problem and we think that it may be possible to get funding form private enterprises for reconstruction.”
Meanwhile, the Dean of the Hanoi National University of Education commented, “The relocation of universities should be well planned, and thought should be given to how this will affect students and the curriculum.”
However, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga affirmed, “The relocation of universities is compulsory and desperate. Each institution should make plans tailored to its particular situation.”
“It is possible that if universities do not find out a new locations soon that there may be no space left to expand or build withing 50 kilometres. The education sector will end up competing with business and industry withing the next five to then years,” said Ga, adding, “It would be better for schools to make their relocation plans now to avoid development problems in years to come.”