Laws for private universities not clear enough: education official
  • | | April 29, 2011 05:23 PM

The Government should have consistent policies for non-state universities to operate as non-profits, one educator said.

Prof. Lam Quang Thiep
Thang Long University is a private institution

Prof. Le Quang Thiep, former Director of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)’s Higher Education Department, said the process of converting people-founded universities into private ones is a bit sluggish due to inconsistent policies concerning privatisation.

In Vietnam, the people-founded university is an institution set up by an organisation or a group of organisations while private universities can be set up by and individual or a group of people. On the other hand, public, or state, universities, are founded and managed by the government.

He explained that in May 2006, the Prime Minister set a deadline for converting people-founded universities into private institutions by end June 2007, but as of December 31, 2007, only Thang Long University met the deadline.

According to Thiep, the regulation of 2009 for private universities is also inadequate. It says that shareholders are only owners of the assets they contribute to the university, while any assets acquired during operation are public.

This concept of “public ownership” has triggered conflicts between state education officials and the founders of some private universities, he noted.

He said that private universities that operate as non-profits belong to the public, and operate for the good of the community.

According to Thiep, in Vietnam, the concept of “non-profit” should be redefined as “not too much profit”, elaborating that shareholders of these institutions have a right to expect to make money.

He recommended tax exemptions to these private universities, along with regular auditing to prevent abuses.

Boards of directors of such universities should include shareholders as well as representatives of the community and students, he added.

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