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University autonomy and scientific research a must: Deputy PM

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Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has critised ministries for failing to build a mechanism for ordering training and scientific research for autonomous universities in the last three years.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam has critised ministries for failing to build a mechanism for ordering training and scientific research for autonomous universities in the last three years. — Photo laodong.vn

 

Chairing a meeting with leaders of ministries and higher education institutions in Hà Nội yesterday, the Deputy PM emphasised that university autonomy was an indispensable trend and it must be carried out consistently.

Đam said that the piloted autonomy at 24 universities throughout the country in the past time had shown problems, such as slow implementation at autonomous units.

The Deputy PM stressed that there was a common misunderstanding that autonomy means no longer being supported by the State budget on a regular basis and that schools must be self-funding.

“This is the wrong view,” he said, adding that university education meant the creation of knowledge, not the continuity from high school, so university innovation meant innovation in scientific research.

“In the past, universities hardly conducted scientific research or just a little, now the university must be one of the main bodies for scientific research,” Đam said.

He revealed that the Government would soon issue a decree on university autonomy after pilot implementation.

“The tuition fee should be calculated correctly and sufficiently to increase the revenue for the university and at the same time have a scholarship fund, combined with the orders (for scientific researches) from the State budget, to ensure disadvantaged people still be able to access higher education,” Đam said.

“No revenue from increased tuition fees should be used for scientific research to offset the reduction of the State budget," he said.

Đam asked the ministries, sectors, institutions and the Việt Nam Academy of Agriculture to coordinate to research on measures to ensure university autonomy and ensure the State funding to universities for scientific research would not be cut.

At the meeting, which focused on the Government’s draft decree on the assignment, order or bidding for the supply of products and services for public works using State budget from regular expenditures, participants also offered opinions on university autonomy and scientific research.

According to the draft decree, the State budget will be used to place orders for training and scientific research in higher education institutions. However, many opinions suggest that if the decree remains similar to the draft it would be very difficult to implement.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Quốc Doanh suggested that the process of developing and approving norms and technical unit prices for each university training sector would be very complicated and would have to take additional years for specialised departments, as competent authorities will need to review and approve each branch of each school.

Regarding the assignment of tasks, orders for scientific and technological research, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Trần Quốc Khánh said that it was necessary to clarify the order of specific scientific research topics, which have a relatively rigorous and long implementation process.

He suggested looking toward the experience of other countries, which often allocate a medium-term budget for scientific research for universities, and then evaluate the effect for further consideration.

Nguyễn Trường Giang, Deputy Director of the Department of Administrative and Financial Finance (MoF), admitted that the most important issue when implementing the decree was to determine the number of orders and the unit price and training unit price.

 

Source: VNS

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