Within the new Vietnamese Law on Vocational Education and Training (VET), coming into effect on 1st July 2015, many important issues have been institutionalized that change the VET system. After a brief overview on the major reforms, this article will focus under the aspect of work-based learning on the cooperation between VET institutes and enterprises in Vietnam.
Vu Xuan Hung
According to the Education Law 2005 and the Law on Vocational Training 2006, the national education system of Vietnam comprises two parallel VET qualification pathways – at both secondary and collegial level – that were managed by two separate state management agencies. This caused difficulties in developing the entire VET system. As a result, the introduction of the VET Law 2014 has restructured the Vietnamese national education system and changed the VET system in a comprehensive manner. The new system comprises three levels of vocational training: elementary, secondary, and collegial levels (cf. Figure 1). These levels of vocational training are managed by a single management agency, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), instead of MOLISA and Ministry of Education and Training, before. (cf. VU XUAN HUNG 2014).
The main features of the VET Law will be explained subsequently:
THE NETWORK OF UNDER-ENTERPRISE VET INSTITUTES
Of all 388 colleges, there were 46 colleges belong to enterprises which accounted for 11.8 per cent. Of 551 VET secondary schools 82 belong to enterprises which accounted for 14.8 per cent. Of 1,035 VET centres, 355 belong to enterprises that accounted for 34.3 per cent (cf. Figure 2) (National Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NIVET), 2017).
However, the number of under-enterprise VET institutes stays low and yet to satisfy the training demand of the enterprises. Moreover, under-enterprise VET institutes (including colleges and VET institutes) are normally only concentrated in certain large socio-economic areas. (cf. Figure 3).
THE COOPERATION BETWEEN VET INSTITUTES AND ENTERPRISES UNDER THE CHANGES OF THE NEW VET LAW
In order to obtain information on the situation of cooperation between VET institutes and enterprises, in 2017, the National Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NIVET) and the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce (VCCI) jointly conducted two independent surveys at 79 enterprises and 88 VET institutes (cf. NIVET 2017).
According to the results of the survey, 32.8 per cent of the 88 interviewed VET institutes indicated a cooperation with enterprises on a regular basis whereas 6.9 per cent do not. Of the 79 surveyed enterprises, only 12.3 per cent; maintain regular cooperation with VET institutes and 46.2 per cent do not have cooperation relationship with any VET institutes.
Of the 79 surveyed enterprises, the most common form of cooperation is to offer internships in enterprises (25 enterprises) and to inform about their qualification requirements (17 enterprises). The participation of enterprises in developing occupational standards, qualifications and training modules as well as defining occupation profiles is very limited (two enterprises). The level of cooperation between enterprises and VET institutes varies among enterprises (cf. Figure 4).
The results of the survey at 79 enterprises show that the most common reason why enterprises do not establish cooperation with VET institutes is they do not have training needs, as responded by 44 per cent of the surveyed enterprises. Besides this reason, 25 per cent explain that they do not have any specially appointed staff to work with VET institutes and about 15 per cent say they do not know how to establish contacts with VET institutes.
Meanwhile, the survey conducted by NIVET at 88 VET institutes discloses that 31 per cent of the surveyed VET institutes do not cooperate with enterprises mainly because they cannot establish contacts with enterprises; another 31 per cent explain that enterprises do not have the need to cooperate with them. In addition, many VET institutes do not cooperate with enterprises because they do not have special staff in charge of business cooperation (25 %).
SUCCESSFUL MODEL OF COOPERATIVE TRAINING BETWEEN VET INSTITUTES AND ENTERPRISES
In the recent years, some cooperative training models between VET institutes and enterprises were effective. These were:
These models are potent examples of strong linkage between VET institutes and enterprises. Under these piloted training model, apart from studying at school, learners conduct internships and get jobs at the enterprise. However, these models are merely within piloting scope and yet to be replicated to the whole system.
With the support of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Nordic Union of Employers, Dong Nai College of High Technology (DCoHT) worked together with enterprises to establish quality advisory boards which aim at improving demand-oriented vocational training. The function of the Quality Advisory Board is to:
Within the framework of the Vietnamese-German "Programme Reform of TVET in Viet Nam", LILAMA 2 International Technology College is supported in providing demand-oriented qualified VET based on occupational standards that were jointly developed with the business sector and are equivalent to German standards.
In 2016, LILAMA 2 made a significant step in developing occupational standards and cooperative training programmes for four industrial occupations in close cooperation with leading companies and professional associations in Viet Nam. These four occupations are
The occupational standards reflect the demand of the Vietnamese business sector. German standards served as an international benchmark and were adjusted to the needs of the Vietnamese labour market. Strong involvement of Vietnamese professional associations and professionals of leading companies, supported by German experts, was one of the success factors.
Based on the occupational standards, comprehensive three-year cooperative training programmes were jointly developed with relevant stakeholders. In these training programmes, LILAMA 2 plays the role of a traditional vocational college for teaching common subjects and professional knowledge. Furthermore, the College has taken the role of an inter-company training center where fundamental occupational skills are trained by qualified practical teachers in its state-of-the-art equipped workshops. Practical skills and knowledge are trained during the three-year cooperative training programme mainly in the companies’ workshops with structured on-the-job training phases. The equivalence between the content of the occupational standards and cooperative training programmes and the corresponding German standards is confirmed by the Handwerkskammer [Chamber of Skilled Crafts] of Potsdam and of Erfurt, Germany.
COOPERATION BETWEEN STATE MANAGEMENT AGENCY, INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVE, AND ENTERPRISES
In order to strengthen the linkage between VET sector and enterprises on the basis of the new VET Law, DVET has signed cooperation agreements with some industry representatives, and some big enterprises to facilitate the cooperation between VET institutes and enterprise cooperation in training. It is a mechanism to improve the training quality effectively, sustainably, and facilitate the participation of enterprises into VET operation.
The Strategy on the Development of Vietnam's Human Resources during 2011-2020 (cf. Vietnamese Prime Minister, 2011) defined “…connecting training institutions with enterprises, widening the modes of training delivery upon training orders required by the enterprises and attracting enterprises to join in human resources training operation (by funding training expenses, organization of in-company training, investing in facilities, etc.). The responsibilities of the enterprises towards human resources training should be institutionalized; … exercising preferential policies to encourage enterprises to invest in human resources training”.
In order to connect VET institutes with enterprises in a demand-driven way, some solutions should be taken into consideration:
The new VET Law has set many changes, particularly the connection between VET institutes and enterprises. However, due to many reasons, this connection is still limited. Despite many new preferential policies for enterprises introduced in the new VET Law, there is a lack of interest in engaging in the VET sector among many enterprises. The above mentioned solutions are expected to address the ongoing difficulties in the connection between VET institutes and enterprises which will contribute to the improvement of training quality in Vietnam.
VU XUAN HUNG
Dr., Director of Department of Formal Training, Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affair, Vietnam