(10 Jan 2020) On December 30, 2019, the government of Vietnam issued Decree 99/2019/ND-CP detailing and guiding the implementation of the amended 2018 Law on Higher Education (Decree 99). Decree 99 will take effect on 15 February 2020, and sets out, among other things, conditions for the establishment of campuses in Vietnam of foreign higher-education institutions, regulations on governing boards, and the autonomy and accountability of higher-education institutions.
Particularly, in regard to the establishment of campuses of foreign higher-education institutions in Vietnam, Decree 99 provides that such institutions must be legally operating, qualified educational institutions in accordance with the regulations of their country of establishment, and must have investment capital of at least VND 500 billion (approx. USD 21.5 million). The educational programs at these campuses must also be accredited or approved by a competent state agency in accordance with the laws of the country of establishment.
The amended 2018 Law on Higher Education, issued in November 2018, stated that the government would issue detailed regulations on the procedures to establish and recognize governing boards. More than a year later, Decree 99 finally provides these regulations on governing boards, and appointing and dismissing the chair and other members, for public and private institutions, separately. Within six months from the effective date of Decree 99 (i.e., 15 August 2020), higher-education institutions must complete the establishment of their governing boards.
Under Decree 99, higher-education institutions have been conferred a degree of autonomy in academic activities, organizational structure and personnel, and matters of finance and assets. For example, they are entitled to issue and implement their own internal regulations on admissions, training, technology, and domestic and international cooperation in accordance with law. In addition, they have the right to determine and publicly announce their admissions methods and criteria in line with the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Training, except in the areas of defense and security, which must comply with regulations of the direct management agency.
Meanwhile, higher-education institutions are accountable to their students, owners, state management agencies, and related parties for ensuring educational quality in accordance with the law, their internal regulations, and their commitments.
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