The Amendment to the Law on Higher Education comes into force on July 01, 2019 (“the Amendment”). The Amendment aims to create a fundamental legal basis to promote the autonomy in training and encourage foreign investors to set up educational institutions in Vietnam which is expected to enhance the quality of higher education, as well as the transformation of higher education sector.

Universities will enjoy more autonomy

After almost 6 years of shifting to a policy of autonomous universities, the Vietnam Government has responded to the long run need to apply an autonomous mechanism.

The Amendment enumerates the prerequisites to set up an autonomous higher education institution. Accordingly, the higher education institution (“HEI”) must have a school council and certification of quality issued by a recognized training quality assessment organization.

In addition, the HEI must also issue and implement its own internal rules, finance regulations, procedures and policies on quality assurance (“QA”) and fulfillment of standards prescribed by the State. Eventually, the institution must assign specific autonomy and accountability to every unit and individual in the HEI, as well as publish the conditions for QA, inspection results and ratio of graduated and employed students, as prescribed by law.

The State shall respect and protect the autonomy of HEIs depending on their rights regarding academic autonomy, autonomy over the organization, personnel and financial autonomy.

More autonomy comes with more obligations and responsibility, and thus the autonomous universities shall be accountable for their finances, assets and human resources.

Higher education quality assurance

The Amendment also regulates the process to control higher education quality by clarifying the objectives, rules and subjects of higher education assessment. Higher education QA is a continuous and systematic process, which includes policies, mechanisms, standards, procedures and measures for maintaining and improving educational quality.

The education QA system includes an internal QA system and external QA system through higher education quality assessment. The aim of such an assessment is to:

  1. Ensure and improve the quality of higher education;
  2. Determine the degree of accomplishment of specific HEIs or training programs over a specific period;
  3. Create a basis for HEIs to report to owners, competent authorities, relevant parties and the public about their training quality; and
  4. Create a basis for students to select a suitable HEI and training program; and for employers to recruit.

The higher education quality inspections shall aim specifically towards HEIs as well as training programs at various levels, and consistently perform said inspections under the following rules for higher education quality assessment:

  1. Independent, objective, lawful;
  2. Honest, transparent; and
  3. Fair, mandatory, periodic assessment.

No longer any “discrimination” between formal education and continuing education

In comparison with the term “higher education degrees” as regulated in the Law on Higher Education 2012, the new term in the Amendment does not depend on the type of training but only depends on training levels.

In accordance with an intended policy approved by the National Assembly, all of the training programs, regardless of type, must ensure the same quality standards. The distinctions between formal education and continuing education shall only be concerned with the training duration, type of organization and management of training.

Therefore, the Amendment no longer discriminates between the values of degrees due to the different types of training.


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