A foreign project to establish a higher education institution in Vietnam must secure total investment funds of at least 1 trillion VND (44.5million USD), according to a draft decree on foreign investment in education newly issued by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).
An international education festival in Vietnam (Illustrative image. Source: VNA)
The draft is set to replace Decree 73 issued in 2012, and change procedures and investment conditions to boost competitiveness and help foreign investors enter the Vietnamese education sector, said Nguyen Xuan Vang, head of MoET’s International Cooperation Department.
The decree also eliminates regulations on the proportion of Vietnamese students at educational institutions.
Decree 73 regulates that foreign nursery schools cannot recruit Vietnamese students. Foreign primary and secondary schools can enroll Vietnamese students but no more than 10 percent of the total number of students at primary level, and 20 percent at secondary and high school levels.
The new decree also states that educational facilities must teach “compulsory content” which will be determined by Minister of Education and Training instead of “compulsory subjects” as in the previous decree. This means that foreign-invested schools do not have to teach all subjects but joint content from various subjects.
According to Vang, the new decree is much more open. For example, foreign investors can now use temporary infrastructure for five years before constructing a school, whereas Decree 73 required investors to secure permanent infrastructure before opening the school.
To improve teachers’ quality, teacher qualification requirements have been stiffened. The minimum percentage of foreign university lecturers has increased from 35 percent to 50 percent, the draft decree says.
“Degrees and certificates of foreign teachers must be recognised by authorised educational agencies. International degrees of Vietnamese teachers must meet requirements to be recognised in Vietnam,” Vang said.
The new decree also adds a regulation for suspending or ending a joint training programme. Investors of the programme will have to return tuition fees to students if the students do not transfer or do not want to transfer to another educational institution.
Nguyen Kim Dung, head of Legal and Governance Relations of British University Vietnam told the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the new decree will aid the investment climate while ensuring investment quality. It reduces unnecessary administrative procedures and has practical requirements for teachers.
Decree 73 required joint training programmes’ teachers at foreign universities to have five-year experience and master’s degrees. The new decree requires language teachers to have only a bachelor’s degree and foreign language certificates.
Lecturers in cuisine, art or hotel management majors must only be artists or experienced.
“The new decree will create a clear investment climate in education sector. The ministry plans to have specific regulations for specific majors,” Dung said, “We really hope the ministry will soon approve the decree”.