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Da Nang Sues Scholarship Students Who Don’t Return

Da Nang’s municipal government is suing several scholarship recipients, arguing that the students have not fulfilled their contractual agreements.

According to VnExpress, the city of Da Nang began offering scholarships to study overseas in 2014 as part of an effort to improve the quality of local government officials. Under the scholarship agreement, students who completed a doctoral or master’s program would later be required to return to Da Nang and work in government for a minimum of seven years.

However almost 10% of the city’s 600-plus scholarship recipients have failed to hold up their end of the bargain, according to the municipal government. So far, Da Nang has sued 15 of its scholarship recipients who have either dropped out of school or failed to return to the central city.

One such student, Huynh Van Long, is currently being sued for VND5.4 billion (US$240,000) by the municipal government after staying in the United Kingdom to complete a PhD program. Under the scholarship program, Long received a VND2.7 billion (US$120,000) grant to earn his master’s at Nottingham University.

Upon completion, the school offered him the opportunity to embark on a three-year PhD course. Though Long attempted to convince Da Nang officials to let him take the PhD scholarship, they refused. Now, the municipal government is viewing his absence as a failure to fulfill their contractual agreement, however Long and his family disagree.

“My son chose to stay longer in the UK for studying, not working,” his father told VnExpress.

However Nguyen Van Chien, director of Da Nang’s Center for Promotion of Human Resources Development, argues the city must take swift legal action to recoup taxpayer money.

“We just can’t waste their hard-earned money,” he told the news outlet.

But for those who do manage to return, things aren’t much better. A recent government survey found that two-thirds of the city’s scholarship recipients were unhappy in their current job postings. Complaints ranged from a lack of support among older government officials to the feeling that the same skills students had picked up abroad were not being put to use on the job.

In the survey, 12.5% of scholarship returnees were not optimistic about their career prospects with the city government and were planning to search for private-sector opportunities which offer higher pay and better working conditions.

[Photo via Viet Uc News]

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