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Tuition hike could harm ethnic minority students

Last update: 16:07 | 07/11/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – As universities become financially independent, ethnic minority students enrolled in special majors may suffer tuition fee increases when their institutions impose fee levels higher than the Government’s ceiling.



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As universities become financially independent, ethnic minority students enrolled in special majors may suffer tuition fee increases when their institutions impose fee levels higher than the Government’s ceiling. — Photo baogialai.com.vn


As universities come under financial pressure, some of them charge slightly higher tuition fees for some special majors, if they are financially independent and able to do so, said Tran Van Top, vice director of Ha Noi University of Science and Technology (HUST). Special majors are those offered exclusively in Viet Nam, focused on the country’s issues, including majors dedicated to the country’s ethnic groups.  

“Ethnic Minority Culture is Viet Nam’s exclusive major which researches the country’s social conditions. However, as students are mostly from ethnic minority groups, charging the maximum tuition fee will place a burden on them,” Nguyen Thi Việt Huong, vice director of Ha Noi University of Culture (HUC) told the newspaper Tiền Phong (the Vanguard).

A 2015 Government resolution says that the tuition ceiling at financially independent universities will be about VND5 million ($220) per month by the 2020 to 2021 school year, which could increase financial pressure on poor students.

Huong confirmed that the university plans to raise tuition, as allowed by the resolution. “The university benefits from this policy since we can invest into scientific research and training courses for lectures. However, it is necessary that we consider students’ common condition for a proper plan,” Huong said.

Facing financial pressures, third-year student Vang Thi Denh from Dien Bien Province, enrolled in the Faculty of Ethnic Minority Culture at HUC, considered dropping out of school.

“I paid VND4 million (US$175) then VND9 million ($395) for my first and second semesters at university, respectively. At that time, I did not know whether I could continue pursuing my studies since tuition fees will increase year by year,” she said.

Fortunately, she is entitled to a tuition exemption with all her school fees covered by the Government from the second year because she belongs to an ethnic minority group. “Without the policy, I would have not gone to school due to financial difficulties,” she added.

From the same province and studying the same major as Denh, however, second-year student Cao Thuy Linh of HUC does not enjoy the policy of tuition fee exemption as she is not from an ethnic minority group. “The tuition fee keeps increasing as regulated, so I do not know if I can continue,” she said.

Nguyen Anh Cuong, dean of the Faculty of Ethnic Minority Culture, said the number of new students enrolling in the faculty has declined for two years. “There are more and more students asking to drop out because of family conditions,” said Cuong.

According to him, most students of the faculty are from ethnic minority groups. Therefore, tuition fee increases will affect their studying opportunities.

“Except for special cases, our students can commonly enjoy the reduction of 30 to 70 per cent. Tuition fee increases can lead to a rising dropout rate,” he added.  

To solve the problem, HUC has requested assistance policies for the special majors. Plans to help students who enroll in special majors with financial aid, proposed by the university and Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, have been approved by the Government. 

VNS

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