Grads heading back to school

  • Education
  • Sunday, 29 May 2016

New focus: Graduates and younger students attend lessons together at an intermediate school. – Asia News Network

Unable to find jobs in fields they were trained for, Vietnamese degree holders are now enrolling for courses that will offer them job security.

TERTIARY education has now become a popular path for the majority of Vietnamese high school graduates.

They think that earning a degree is the best way to secure success.

Yet amid the new batch of graduates every year, there is fierce competition among job candidates. Postgraduates and those with a bachelor’s or even master’s degrees are struggling to find jobs in their areas of speciality.

Many have decided to go back to intermediate school to pursue courses that will enable them to get jobs that are relevant to what they’ve learnt.

In Vietnam, tertiary education is divided into three levels based on admission requirements – intermediate school (two years training), junior college (three years) and university (four or five years).

Nguyen Dinh Duc, 24, who holds a degree from a university in Hanoi, is now working as a a “motorbike taxi rider” and operates out of My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

Duc was taken in as an intern at a company soon after graduation. After a year, the company was reluctant to sign a contract with him, saying that it was downsizing.

His attempts at finding other jobs also failed. He was over-qualified for some jobs and did not meet specific requirements for others.

He decided to stop searching for job and is now a motorbike taxi rider. He earns about 5mil Vietnamese dong (RM920) a month. His salary is enough to pay for his rent, food and tuition fees.

In the evenings, he takes a Japanese course at an intermediate school and hopes to become a Japanese language teacher.

Luong Thu Hoai, 28, who holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration is teaching economics at an intermediate school in the city.

However, the number of students declined drastically in recent months.

Unable to make ends meet on his meagre monthly salary, Hoai has opted to take up a pharmaceutical course, totally different from what he had studied in varsity for over four years.

What is the reason for this trend? Recent labour statistics provided by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam showed that in the first quarter of this year, 192,500 degree and master’s degree holders are unemployed.

On average, one among five jobless people have degrees. Some attribute it to the number of junior colleges that were upgraded to universities.

According to its Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam currently has more than 400 universities and colleges, three times the number in 1987, and double the number of other learning institutions in 2002.

The mushrooming of institutes of higher education have led to an overflow of school-leavers rushing to universities and colleges, leaving fewer students at intermediate and apprentice training schools.

It is an upside down trend now as a graduates, who were trained to be white-collar staff, now have to hide their degrees and switch to cooking, tourism, mechanics, pharmacy or even factory work.

Le Hong Khanh, deputy principal of Ha Noi Medical and Pharmaceutical Intermediate School, said that half the students at his school have a degree in another field.

Most of them, followed the trend to select “hot” majors such as economics, finance, banking or education, some years ago.

The economic recession led to fewer people being employed and stricter criteria for recruitment.

Graduates lacking skills find it hard to meet the job market demands and are forced to enrol in intermediate schools to change their majors.

Due to the high level of unemployment, Khanh is proposing that the Education and Training Ministry together with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, seek solutions to reduce the number of applicants for trendy fields each year.

Dang Van Sang, principal of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Anh Sang Intermediate School,said that after four years at university, it was such a waste of time and money for young people to pursue another course, without having found a job. – Asia News Network

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