“Integration in vocational education and training has been meticulously prepared”

“Integration in vocational education and training is a long-term process, it has been prepared meticulously with a roadmap, not until today we have discussed it”, said Mr. Vu Xuan Hung, Director of the Department of Full-time Training , Directorate of Vocational Education and Training.

Mr. Vu Xuan Hung, Director of the Full-time Training (Directorate of Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs) said in the online seminar “Vocational education and training: Renew to integrate”co-organized by VietNamNet in the morning of August 9th.

We have approached regional and international standards

Journalist Pham Huyen: The first question is for businesses. Madame Hoa, as an employer, what is your opinion regarding the quality of trained labor today?

Ms. Nguyen Le Hoa (Human Resources Director of Viet Chuan Company): In my opinion, currently the quality of training has basically changed in a positive way. First, you have come to know your capacity after going through the training levels.

We often mention the situation of “redundancy of teachers and lack of workers”, but now you have learned that in which level your capacity is, paid attention to your skills, learning the major that you can promote. Regarding the quality of training, you have met the basic knowledge, the second is understanding the working mind, the third is self-control.

Journalist Pham Huyen: Mr. Dong Van Ngoc, what are you comments on the quality of our vocational training at present and the key points to meet the need of innovation in vocational education and training for integration?

Mr. Dong Van Ngoc (Rector of Hanoi Electromechanical Vocational College): I realize that we have to ask ourselves and answer the question: Why do we have to innovate?

In my opinion, innovation is an objective law, there is no development without innovation. Second, the recent evolution of the Industry 4.0 has a deep and wide impact on all sectors of the economy, including technology-related fields, and training. Third, we are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next question is that what innovation is for ?. Simply, the answer is to develop. But basically, more specifically, innovation is for intergration of the economy of Vietnam after joining EVFTA signed with the EU. Its impact is that businesses will change in terms of technology, then they will have the demand to change human resources, especially in high technology field.

Big businesses are applying new technologies, technologies in the field of 4.0, it is clear that our human resources must change.

Journalist Pham Huyen: It can be seen that change is an objective, imperative need. So in fact, in recent years, has the quality of VET in Vietnam really met the demand of integration, Mr. Hung?

Mr. Vu Xuan Hung: I am very glad to hear from business representatives that the quality of training has improved. And the feedback of business means that our integration has begun, has partly met.

The integration of VET is a long-term process, which has been carefully prepared and has a roadmap, not just discussed. The Law on Vocational Education and Training 2014 showed many standards of nations in the region and around the world that our VET system must reach. Then in 2016, the Prime Minister issued Decision 1982 stipulating the National Qualifications Framework of Vietnam, of which 8 levels of education and training, VET has 5 levels. This framework referred to ASEAN and European qualifications frameworks.

This shows that the system we have approached about the training standards of countries in the region and in the world; to facilitate the mutual recognition of qualifications when labors moving amongst countries, natural persons moving.

Second, in terms of the network of VET institutions, we also have access to regional and international standards, as an example from Mr. Ngoc’s college.

Currently, there are 1,909 VET institutions, including 399 colleges, 458 intermediate schools and 1,052 VET centers. Particularly for high quality schools, it is also quite large. Lately, the Prime Minister’s Decision 1363 in 2019 aims to have 40 high-quality schools by 2020, 70 by 2025, being capable of training a number of professions recognized in ASEAN countries and countries around the globe.

Up to now, many targets have been achieved. For example, there are 25 qualified schools recognized by the Australian to train 12 occupations according to Australian standards and the training process has finished. A 2-year, 2-and-a-half year training program has been completed. Lately, there are 45 qualified schools recognized by the German to train 22 occupations.

Third is for the quality assurance conditions which have been greatly improved recently. By 2020, we have issued 600 learning outcomes standards at intermediate and college level for 300 popular, important, key, heavy and hazardous occupations.

These learning outcomes approach regional and international standards, knowledge, skills, and responsible attitudes… Industry 4.0 skills, such as informatics, foreign languages, other soft skills… have been included. Learning outcome standards have been issued by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, and they are the bases for institutions to build training programs.

The fourth is that the State has paid the attention for the development of teachers in recent years. In the program of transferring 34 occupations from overseas, there are nearly 400 teachers trained in foreign countries.

Fifth, we have participated in ASEAN and World Skills Competition. In 1998, the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training was re-established. Just 3 years later we entered the ASEAN Skills Competition for the first time and won the Fourth Prize. Up to now, Vietnam has participated in 10 ASEAN Skills Competitions, winning 3 first prizes of the whole delegation, 2 second prizes, 2 third prizes. We are around the 3rd rank in the ASEAN Skills Competitions.

With the World Skills Competition, we have attended 3 times, lately in Russia in 2019, we won silver medal and 8 certificates of excellent occupational skills, ranked 25/63 countries and territories.

One more point I would like to add is that in recent years the Government has made a very wise decision to transfer foreign training programs to Vietnam. 34 Australian and German curriculum sets have been transferred and we have successfully pilot-trained 12 occupations from Australia, currently pilot-trained for 22 jobs transferred from Germany.

It is our fastest approach to national or regional standards. Students who complete this program will be granted 2 degrees, 1 from Vietnam and 1 from Australia or Germany, to not only participate in the Vietnam labor market but also regional and international ones because they are all good at English. Trainees graduated from recent Australian pilot program either working abroad or in Vietnam, they are at least working for FDI enterprises, foreign enterprises or taking joint studies to a higher degree abroad.

I would like to point out these examples to show that Vietnamese VET has approached regional and international standards and we are providing the human resource that not only meets the requirements of domestic enterprises but also meets the requirements of regional and international businesses.

Without high quality teachers, you cannot have a high-quality schools.

Journalist Pham Huyen: Besides these very positive results, what are the things that have not been as expected in those changes?

Mr. Vu Xuan Hung: What we are concerned about is the quality of teachers, the most important thing is language proficiency. We want learners to be good at a foreign language, it is clear that the teacher must be that good also.

Therefore, we also determine that in the coming time, improving the quality of the teachers will not only focus on their skills, expertise, pedagogy, but also how to improve their foreign languages.

Journalist Pham Huyen: It is known that the Prime Minister has decided to invest Hanoi Electromechanical Vocational College to becoming a key national high-quality vocational training school. Mr. Ngoc, which countries do you cooperatwith and would you like to share the lessons of receiving and transferring the program at the school as well as its effectiveness in attracting learners?

Mr. Dong Van Ngoc: In December 2019, we were officially recognized as the first school in Vietnam to meet the criteria of a high-quality school.

As an implementer of the transfer program, first of all we see that this is a very meaningful policy, a “good shortcut”.

Currently, we are implementing training programs transferred from Germany with 2 occupations: Industrial Electrical and Metal Cutting. Metal cutting is mainly for precision mechanics, or in general, supporting industries that are essential for a developing country, attracting FDI enterprises like Vietnam.

The two occupations above are trained in 2 classes, each with only 16 students. Our school will only train, and the German side will evaluate and supervise. The conditions for their recognition are many, but I only mentioned very important criteria.

The first is that the teachers must be sent to Germany to study and when they are assessed and recognized to be qualified, they can teach that program. It can be seen that to reach the standard of teachers is not simple at all, besides the issue of cost, finance and other opportunity costs.

Next is the standard of equipment for training according to the program, according to their accreditation, all schools in Vietnam must prepare and the State must invest, the Government and especially the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training must promote and lead the quick investment for schools participating in pilot training, including our school.

Next is to ensure quality management according to their assessment programs and standards, capacity framework and skills, Vietnamese people must update and integrate to fully implement that training program in Vietnam.

One point in Germany’s management technology is that an educational institution keeps training, but the process of accreditation, assessment, graduation recognition, and diploma are the responsibilities of another unit. So this is a very fair and objective assessment. We cannot say that we are good but the Germans do not recognize us.

This is the second year our school implements a transfer program, then what I learned after the first year I immediately applied to nearly 100 classes in the school, bringing German management technologies to the school.

Working in this field is 22 years up to now, including 10 years as rector and vice rector, I think that this is an extremely good opportunity for VET institutions, especially schools that are invested to be high quality school.