Nguyen Ba Hai, PhD, offers 1 dollar vocational courses

Commentary: It is admirable that international students on scholarships return to their native countries to serve and contribute to the people. The brain drain phenomenon is well-known that a large number scholars from underdevelopped countries remain and work  in their host countries upon the completion of their studies and training. How could you blame them to choose the best choices for their lives.

However, those who decide to return back to their countries in order to serve despite the lack of opportunity and freedoom deserve our admiration and applaud.

Nguyen Ba Hai, a 28-year-old technical doctor from Thanh Hoa Province, has opened several USD1 training courses in six localities nationwide since 2010.

Hai delivering lectures at his courses    One dollar courses

Hai delivering lectures at his courses One dollar courses

With a special love for cars since he was a little boy, Hai studied mechanical dynamics at the University of Technical Education Ho Chi Minh City after graduating from high school. He then received a scholarship to pursue bio-robotics in South Korea.

After two years of studying in South Korea, Hai patented his inventions that were transferred to South Korean companies, along with an excellent graduation thesis.

He received an additional scholarship to study a doctorate in South Korea. He recorded the best dissertation at his university at the age of 27.

After his graduation, a professor proposed that he should work for the Korea Automotive Technology Institute for USD5,000 per month. However, he refused and decided to return Vietnam and worked at the University of Technical Education Ho Chi Minh City.

Hai decided to open one dollar short-term technical training courses in 2010.

“I realise that fewer young people have opted to study technical subjects but more tend to learn business, trade or banking. I decided to open one dollar technical training courses with the aim of inspiring interest in technical subjects,” Hai explained.

He applied a tuition fee of only USD1 for a course in order to encourage learners have no excuse to engage in his studies. Such courses provide learners with important technical knowledge, technical innovations, and visual programming language at weekends.

Learners range from secondary pupils to engineers or older people already working.

To date, he has opened such courses in six provinces across the country have attracted 1,000 learners.

Hai uses teaching methods that encourage creativity so as they can apply what they’ve learn in real life.

Some of his learners have invented several innovative products such as small-sized solar vehicles, burglar warning device and automatic turn-on light device.

He has spent around VND40 million (USD1,916) on infrastructure and facilities at his classes. It has cost him from VND2-3 million (USD95.8-USD143.7) to organise a training course. All the finances have come out of his own pocket.

He added that he had plans to expand such courses in the time to come.

Charity operations

Despite being very busy, Hai is also interested in charity operations. After being recognised as one of six outstanding young citizen in HCM City for his great contributions to community development in 2012, Hai spent half of his money from the award to help poor students and visually-impaired people.

His Miraculous Eye and Magic Hat were especially designed to foster visually impaired people during their moving.

The products are sold at VND10 million (USD479.1) but are donated or sold to the disadvantaged at much lower prices.

Some enterprises have offered to buy his patents to boost production of the products for billions of VND but he refused. He said if such products were sold by enterprises the prices would be higher and needy customers would struggle to be able to afford them.

“Any of us can take part in charitable activities. If one spends few days on helping the disadvantaged, it would mean a better society,” he added.


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