University autonomy is considered an inevitable trend of global education, a “revolution” to fundamentally and comprehensively innovate higher education. However, in our country today, when university autonomy, many schools simultaneously increase tuition fees, causing the society to fear that it will increase the pressure on study costs on the shoulders of learners. Dr. Le Viet Khuyen, former Deputy Director of the Higher Education Department (Ministry of Education and Training), Vice President of the Association of Vietnam Universities and Colleges, had an exchange with VOV.VN on this issue.
Dr. Le Viet Khuyen, former Deputy Director of the Higher Education Department (Ministry of Education and Training), Vice President of the Association of Vietnam Universities and Colleges. (Photo: Youth)
PV: Currently, when many universities switch to autonomy, the tuition fees are also higher than before, the state budget investment for these schools is also reduced, what do you think about this issue? ?
Dr. Le Viet Khuyen: Currently, there is a confusion of opinion at both the management level and the educational institution that is confusing university autonomy and self-sufficiency in resources, which are two completely different issues. University autonomy does not mean that universities have to be self-sufficient in terms of resources and funding. For public schools, the main source of funding is from the state budget. The State should not cut the budget of autonomous universities, but on the contrary, should increase budget support for schools that successfully implement the policy of university autonomy, considering them as worthy places to focus on. investment to quickly improve training quality, helping schools soon become key national schools.
As in China, when self-governing, public schools also mobilize other resources, but the mobilization source from tuition fees cannot exceed one-third, the rest is based on the state budget and activities such as research. science, production and business… In Vietnam, there are only a few schools with relatively good scientific research and production and business activities, the rest is still the main activity. Thus, if there is no funding from the State budget, there is only one way to increase tuition fees.
However, when it comes to increasing tuition fees, regardless of country, there is a principle with public schools that tuition fees must be fair, creating learning opportunities for everyone. Therefore, the tuition fee is usually limited, not increasing indefinitely, but should be based on the average income of the people. People pay taxes and contribute to the State budget, so their children must enjoy educational benefits in the public school system, unable to force learners to bear a large burden of tuition fees.
PV: So, according to experts, when schools massively increase tuition fees, how will it directly affect people’s opportunities to access education?
Dr. Le Viet Khuyen: A good education must satisfy a number of factors including: fairness of learning opportunities, quality criteria, efficiency (the same amount of money must be used to be most effective), consistency (i.e. a consistent policy is needed throughout the education system). If all four criteria are satisfied, it can be considered a good education. In our country today, there is a lot of talk about improving quality, but whether that quality is real or not is another matter. When improving quality by raising the cost of training without support from the State budget or from production and business activities, relying solely on tuition fees is not good. Tuition fees increase, but there needs to be control, to ensure that there is no serious violation of the principle of education equity, so that everyone has the opportunity to access higher education.
PV: So in the context of autonomy, what should schools do to improve operational efficiency but not create too much pressure on the cost of studying for students, sir?
Dr. Le Viet Khuyen: I add that we need to distinguish autonomy and socialization as two different concepts. Autonomy is how the school has the right to decide its development direction in specific circumstances, not according to the hand-holding mechanism. When the resources from the State cannot meet the needs, it is necessary to mobilize resources from the society, but the socialization of education must be viewed from many different angles, cannot force people to spend large amounts of money, such as: That is violating the first principle of education which is fairness. In order to have more resources, schools need to review the effectiveness of their activities, there are still schools, although the resources are not much, but they are used very effectively, receiving little support from the budget, but the tuition fee does not increase. much and the quality of training increased sharply, for example, Ton Duc Thang University.
Autonomy does not mean self-sufficiency in terms of resources, when public universities are self-sufficient, the State still has to provide financial resources for higher education, depending on the state’s ability to provide. We can mobilize more, this belongs to the category of socialization. But emphasizing that, the socialization of education does not mean forcing learners to pay more money, increasing tuition fees, but it is necessary to increase the school’s service activities, conduct scientific research, review the school’s facilities. How to manage the school in the most effective way.
It is a mistake when schools cling to socialization, going in the direction of self-control to increase tuition fees – this is a serious mistake that both the management system level as well as the university institution are making.
PV: Thank you Sir!