01/21/2008, 00.00
VIETNAM
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This year 60 new candidates join Hồ Chí Minh City’s Dominican Institute

by JB. VU
The future clergymen and women come from every diocese in the country, a situation that facilitates the exchange of cultural experiences. “Education is a priority for the Vietnamese Church,” says Mgr Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Saigon (AsiaNews) – This year the Dominican Institute in Hồ Chí Minh City will welcome 60 new priests and sisters to train for work in various congregations. Vietnam has 26 diocese and these candidates to the religious life come from every corner, something which offers a good opportunity to learn and share from different experiences.

“At present we organise classes in philosophy, theology and Bible studies for clergymen and women,” said Father Trung, director of the Institute. “Thanks to good professors, priests, sisters and lay people we offer good training. Many priests and nuns come from seminaries and congregations and from various dioceses. This allows that to share cultural traditions from each diocese. Some men religious and nuns are from ethnic minorities. At the end they go back to their villages and communities to help their people. Thanks to lay teachers priests and nuns understand social realities and family life and can apply what they learn to their mission in local parishes.”

Mgr Nguyễn Văn Nhơn, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, told AsiaNews that “education is a priority for the Vietnamese Church,” especially “quality education.” To this effect “lay people can make a good contribution to the field.”

With a population of about 84 million, 54 per cent of which young, Vietnam needs education and training to improve human resources.

Education Ministry figures show that during last school year (2006-2007) 16,371,040 students between the ages of 7 and 18 were registered in institutions ranging from elementary to high schools.

Every year about 3 million take admission exams to go to college, university or professional schools.

The number of schools is growing all the time but results are less certain. Many graduates have a hard time finding employment.

The main challenge now is to improve the quality of education to support a more global human development.

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