Autonomy in Higher education – Leverage for quality enhancement

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Autonomy in Higher education is no longer an alien concept to Vietnam university education when from three years ago, resolution 77/NQ-CP has officially opened the path for schools to execute  model of autonomy. In March 12/2017, the country has had 23 universities built the model of autonomy under resolution 77/NQ-CP; particularly in HCM City, 7 schools are carrying out this model.

Brings about initiatives and opportunities for universities

That is what can easily be noticed when the basic problems of management, finance, recruitment and open training fields were removed and given to the schools. The pilot school of autonomic model not only built a modern academic environment for the learner, greater student subsidy policy,  many are even gradually lifting its brand on area map and international education.

Recognizing major breakthroughs on all aspects of the universities pursuing financial autonomy model, Assoc.Prof. Dr.Vu Huu Duc-Vice Rector in charge of HCM City Open University-said, the value of the model of autonomy gives the schools and students over the past time is a new vision.  It is the vision from an open mechanism that has helped managing crew and teachers towards superior education quality and integration.

According to Assoc.Pro. Dr. Vu Huu Duc, superiority and getting rid of the present “old frame” derives from the fact that schools be proactive in planning all activities instead of waiting for “mechanism”. And the most important of all is to escape from the vicious circle between tuition fees and the quality of teacher recruitment and the policies to attract talents.

“Thanks to the autonomy that we have fulfilled team as well as infrastructure in the past two years when placing 2 new facilities in use with spacious floor area taken up to ten thousand  square meters. Particularly, in two years, HCM City Open University has recruited for educating team  many more Assoc.Profes and Dr. who have prolific scientific research achievements.  Most importantly, scholarship policies to support students in difficulty have become more comprehensive with the annual funds up to more than 10 billion “-Assoc.Prof .Dr Vu Huu Duc announce.

Since adopting financial autonomy model very early, University of Economics HCM City has been making dramatic changes not only in the quality of training, teams, facilities but also on its way to international integration through ranges of assessment on continental scale; also, all the traning programmes are following the international standards.

Assoc.Prof. Dr. Phan Thi Bich Nguyet-Vice rector of the University of Economics HCM City, believes: model of autonomy not only brings to the autonomy in academic training, it also offers students better support policies. It is the scholarship policies, the policy of loan, subsidy for students in difficulty… Autonomous source of revenue (fees) also benefits the school expenses for rewarding better teams, encourage them to contribute wholeheartedly to training quality for better schools. “ “ ‘Weak’ financial resources cannot reap good training quality or modern learning environment”.The important thing is, from the mechanism, on the basis of receiving the consensus of society, parents and students, we have many more conditions to comply with social policies, supporting students. The goal of financial self-sufficiency model, to me, is not anything else but expecting to bring people a modern learning environment, a standard and a fulcrum for officers, teachers and pupils in forming the habit of researching , which raises the quality of training for the university. ” – Assoc Prof.Dr Bich Nguyet shared.

How to achieve successful self-reliant model?

The success of the 23 universities all over the country in general, 7 schools in HCM City in particular  pursuing this model is good signal for University Conversion system from the ‘number’ to the ‘quality’.

It not only brings about  hope and belief for universities on their way to pursue financial autonomy model, but also confirms the right direction of the Minister of Education and Training in promoting  autonomy trend and self-responsibility among universities and colleges. However, according to several administration officials, in order to have the process of autonomy in the coming period well demonstrated, it is essential to solve related issues, especially the relation between investment budget decision for education, level of fees and the mechanism of creating revenue.

AssocProf.Dr Do Van Dung, the headmaster of Engineering Education Department HCM City explicitly indicate that the greatest obstacle in promoting self-reliant university is currently outdated management thinking. Besides, according to the AssocProf.Dr Do Van Dung, the management structure of schools currently under the Ministry management mechanisms need to be mentioned in Higher Education Law, or eradicate to create a comprehensive mechanism for the schools. Especially on the issue of finance.

Recognition of autonomy would create motivation, great resource for the schools. However, according to Professor Tran Hong Quan, President of the Universities-College Association Vietnam, Education department should boldly disrupt the old order, create a standardized and fresh legal environment if we want to change, to make a breakthrough in University Management.

“Permitting schools to conduct autonomy model is similar to boosting socialization of a school; financial restraint will make it difficult for schools to comprehensively adopt self-reliant mechanism.”- Professor Quan claim.

Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hoan – Rector of HCMCity University of Food Industry perceive that whether or not the autonomy of universities is successful depends on the schools’ leader board, staff and teachers. Because according to Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hoan hardly the model and mechanism have been able to escape from subsidized thinking, which is so deeply absorbed in the activities of public schools,  can autonomy be successful.

“In order to build model of autonomy in universities successfully, it is necessary for the schools to carefully prepare the system of asymptotic policies and policies to be self-sufficient in order to gradually become familiar with the new mechanism. . Parallel to the accumulation and investment of facilities to create a premise for autonomy, the policies to encourage scientific research and improve the quality of the team also need to be synchronized. In particular, the upcoming Higher Education Law should further open the possibility for schools to apply special salaries to good people (equivalent to the average salary paid by international and foreign organizations to Vietnamese people) so that the autonomous model schools can implement policies to attract talents. Having an open mechanism and synchronous implementation of the above solutions, the new autonomy model is truly sustainable and successful ”- Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hoan emphasized.