The former principal of HCM City Teacher Training University, Nguyen Kim Hong spoke to Lao Dong Newspaper about the proposal by the Ministry of Education and Training to replace free tuition for students at public teacher training institutions with student loans.
Nguyen Kim Hong, former principal of HCM City Teacher Training University
What do you think about the proposal?
I approve of this proposal. Over 20 years ago, the policy to grant free training courses to students enrolled at all public teacher training institutions was started with aim to attract more students. At first, it attracted many outstanding students in rural areas but in the past decade, it has become ineffective. Not many want to become a teacher because of low wages and work pressure.
There are opinions that students enrol at teacher training universities to avoid paying tuition fees. What do you think?
There's no comprehensive study about such matter. If there is an abundance of students then the universities can afford to choose the best instead of training enough students to meet demand. A teacher must love children to want to do this work, let alone be a great teacher.
Many universities have been unable to enrol enough students in past years. If the policy of free tuition ends, won’t they face even more difficulties?
People also think that universities won’t be able to get any students if the entrance scores are too high too. But in reality, enrollment at many universities has still met the targets and there are many good students.
If the free tuition policy ends, students will have to consider their choices more carefully now that they have a debt to repay. But nothing is to be worried about if everything is carried out right. This will be a pressure to force students to work hard to be the best. However, the government still have to invest in teacher training universities.
Will students from disadvantaged backgrounds face more difficulties? Are there any supporting policies for them?
The credit system will provide them with loans for tuitions and daily expenses which the graduates must pay after a certain time. Students who can pay for their own tuitions and still work in the education sector at least five years after graduation will be given the same amount of money in other students' loans. Students who are already studying at teacher training universities can still apply for the loans. The plan can attract more students and improve teacher quality.