Vietnam imposes stricter punishments for education-related violations

Decree No.04/2021/ND-CP on sanction of administrative violations in education domain, issued by the Government, is officially into effect as of today. This decree will replace Decree No.138/2013. Law and education experts praised this new decree as it regulates punishments for new law breaking activities and introduces new content related to autonomy in education.

Students of International University (Vietnam National University – HCMC) in their practice lesson. (Photo: SGGP)
Students of International University (Vietnam National University – HCMC) in their practice lesson. (Photo: SGGP)

Dr. Thai Thi Tuyet Dung from the University of Economics and Law (Vietnam National University – HCMC) stated that Decree No.04/2021/ND-CP introduces new humanitarian amendments for violations like publicly apologizing those whose honor and dignity are offended. Other impractical amendments such as forceful closure of educational institutes not legally established are removed.

In addition, the decree increases fines for many education-related violations regulated in Decree No.138/2013/ND-CP. Particularly, the fine is VND40 million – 60 million (approx. US$1,700-2,600), a double of the old one, to educational activities or services held outside the permitted locations; and VND10 million – 30 million ($433 – 1,299) to university enrollment of wrong subjects compared to announced admission regulations.

Universities are forced to temporarily close down for 6 – 12 months if enrolling over the limit by 3 percent for their master and doctorate programs, along with the fine of VND20 million – 100 million ($866 – 4,338).

Notably, Decree No.04 adds a number of new administration violations to be sanctioned: those related to the establishment, establishment permit, merging, separation, and dissolving of educational institutes or educational service providers; those concerning educational type conversion; those related to educational institute management or creation of a management board for tertiary educational institutes.

One more significant addition of Decree No.04 is the content regarding violations in overseas learning consultation, foreign investment in the educational field, activities of representative offices of foreign educational organizations in Vietnam, Vietnamese student admission into kindergarten with international curriculum.

Formerly, punishments were only applied to organizations not publicly displaying information about certificate issuance on their official website. Now, tertiary educational institutes not or insufficiently showing alliance study programs are also sanctioned.

There are more regulations concerning certificate management, issuance, and use in Articles 21, 22, and 23.

Some experts voiced that the fines for over-the-limit admission or wrong subject enrollment are quite mild. However, with additional punishments strictly observed and an increase in monitoring activities by state agencies, anyone who wishes to break the law should feel afraid.

In order to successfully implement the new decree, Dr. Thai Thi Tuyet Dung recommended that all educational institutes must be highly aware of the new content. Besides, the inspection force must first be strengthened to timely discover offenses. Along with that are transparent sanctions and an increase in punishment jurisdiction for provincial police agencies and Director of Vietnam Immigration Department.

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