Poor turnout, inflation means entrance exams cost colleges dearly

July 16, 2009
Candidates check the list of examination rooms at Ho Chi Minh City-based Cao Thang Technical College on Tuesday.

Colleges in HCMC have complained that they will lose a lot of the money they spent on organizing the third round of tertiary entrance exams because only half of the applicants have registered.

Only half of the more than 170,000 high school students, who applied earlier this year to study 2.5- 3-year college diplomas, signed up on Tuesday for the two day entrance exams that finish today, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) said. There are about 20 colleges in the city.

According to MoET’s preliminary statistics, over 300,000 out of some 530,000 applicants nationwide registered for the third round and paid the VND20,000 (US$1.12) fee.

While the percentage of original applicants who register is similar to previous years, the colleges said they would suffer losses, because of increased costs due to inflation.

The College of Finance and Customs Principal Giang Van Kip said the school expects to face a heavy loss because of the increased outlay to pay for facilities and materials.

Principal Nguyen Manh Hung of Nguyen Tat Thanh College estimated they will make a record loss of nearly VND400 million ($22,465), despite plans to cut down on expenditures by 15 – 20 percent.

Pham Chau Thanh, vice principal of the College of Foreign Economic Relations, said every year they hold the exams and lose about VND100 million ($5,616), because the registration fee of VND20,000 from each student isn’t enough to cover the cost of classroom rental, exam paper printing and pays for proctors.

This year 32,000 candidates, or about half of the applicants, are sitting the exams for the school, with expected losses of about VND200 million ($11,232), according to Thanh.

Cao Thang Technical College, where some 52 percent of applicants are sitting the exams, estimates it will lose VND500 million ($28,081) this year, according to principal Dao Khanh Du.

Experts say the low registration rate for the third round of entrance exams was because a lot of the students had only applied as a back up – in case they didn’t do well in the first two rounds.

In Vietnam a college-accredited diploma isn’t as valued as a university bachelor degree.

According to MoET, the first two rounds of the university entrance exams held on July 4-5 and July 9-10 had 66 percent and 67 percent attendance rates respectively.

Every year high school graduates apply for the universities or colleges where they want to study by April. Then the schools prepare examination venues, proctors, and exam papers in accordance with the number of applications.

Source: TN, TP

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