Vietnam - Higher Education
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Students passing the national examination at the end of the two cycles of secondary school were eligible for admission to institutions of higher education in arts, sciences, and law. The other faculties and specialized institutions had their own entrance examinations.
South Vietnam was handicapped in 1954 for lack of a university. Between 1954 and 1973, several universities were opened both in the public and private sectors. In 1955 the first university, the National University of Vietnam, was established in Saigon with the help of a large number of anti-communist, mostly Catholic, students and faculty of the Franco-Vietnamese University in Hanoi, who chose to move to the south. Before 1954, a medical school and law faculty in Saigon were affiliated to the Franco-Vietnamese University of Hanoi In 1957, and the National University was renamed the University of Saigon. Other public universities were established at Hue (l957 and Can Tho (1966). These universities benefited from the University of Saigon faculty, who traveled regularly to Hue and Can Tho to teach there. The government also established three professional institutions: the National Institute of Technology (1957), which offered a four-year degree program in engineering-civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical-and a three-year diploma for technicians; the National Agricultural Center (1959), which offered a degree program in agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry; and the National School of Administration, which offered a three-year diploma program in public administration, economics, and finance as well as an advanced three-year graduate program in public administration.
The government also encouraged establishment of universities, mostly sectarian, in the private sector. The University of Da Lat in the central highlands (l958) established by President Diem's archbishop brother and Minh-Duc University in Saigon (1970) were Catholic universities; the University of Van-Hanh in Saigon (1964) was Buddhist. The University of Cao Dai, and the University of Hoa Hao, were established in 1971 by the followers of those sects. In 1973, the year peace agreements were signed in Paris, the government opened a major institution, the Thu-Duc Polytechnic University in Saigon. Finally, the government established three community colleges at Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Thu Duc, which trained people in technical skills. The training of teachers at the primary and lower middle level schools was handled by five pedagogical institutions including two run by Catholics; secondary school training was the responsibility of the universities.