18.8.13

NO MORE AGING HIPPIES REGISTERING.

Politically correct education doesn't appeal to Vietnamese students.
Market forces are working against college degrees in Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, where the Communist government has resorted to offering free tuition to attract students.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree last month giving free tuition to students agreeing to take four-year courses on Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh, the country's revolutionary hero, at state-run universities.

Students have been shunning such degrees because employers are not interested in it, said Pham Tan Ha, head of admission and training at Ho Chi Minh City Social and Human Sciences University. Degrees in subjects like communications, tourism, international relations and English are more popular because students believe "they will have better chances of employment and better pay when they graduate," he said.

Students who study certain medical specialties such as tuberculosis and leprosy also will get a free ride under the decree. Ordinarily they would have to pay the equivalent of about $200 a year for tuition.

Currently, all Vietnamese students must take at least three classes in Marxist-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies, but few go beyond that minimum requirement.

Vietnam is run by a Communist regime but embraced free-market reforms in the 1980s. These days, the country's past is mostly apparent in its large and inefficient state-owned sector, a repressive state apparatus, the occasional Soviet-era statue or building and lingering alliances with other leftist countries.

Getting a good job - rather than the nuances of a discredited political and economic ideology that runs counter to the capitalism coursing through the country's towns and cities - is the primary concern of most young Vietnamese and their families.
Paolo Freire could not be reached for comment.

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