Pham Vu Quoc Binh, Director of Vietnam Vocational Training Accreditation Agency, Ministry of Labour, invalids and Social Affairs, highlights the British Council’s valuable role in ensuring vocational training meets the needs of Vietnam’s ongoing international integration.
The vocational education system, which provides about 75 per cent of Vietnam’s human resources, is playing an enormously important role amid the still high number of college students who graduate without jobs and the internationalised labour market’s requirement for highly qualified and skilled human resources in accordance with international standards. Pham Vu Quoc Binh, Director of Vietnam Vocational Training Accreditation Agency (VVTAA), believed vocational education must follow international standards to ensure quality. “However, the changes have still not met the requirements of the international economic and environment,” he said. Therefore, research and learning from the international quality assurance system is essential.
With that foundation, Binh said he began to participate in series of activities related to vocational education under the British Council’s partnership programme since 2014.
One of the significant projects involves the British Council’s cooperation in building and implementing the Vietnam Qualifications Framework (VQF) that helps recruiters, students and educators have the same understanding and perspective of the value of qualifications through professional ability. The VQF also serves as a reference for other countries, making it possible for Vietnamese qualifications to be recognised or converted at international level. The British Council has jointly organised capacity building activities, invited experts from the UK to share their expertise and comments from the drafting phase to until the VQF was approved by the government (2016) and supported the implementation of VQF. Vietnam can benefit from sharing the best practices and lessons learnt from other countries, helping to standardise and enhance the competitiveness of human resources.
He highlighted the project to develop the quality assurance system in some vocational training colleges set to be upgraded to high quality colleges and active cooperation as especially important for VVTAA. Twenty-one institutions in Vietnam have cooperated with UK institutions to improve the vocational training quality through applying the UK quality assurance system. He said even though quality assurance management was applied in institutions previously, it seemed ineffective since it mainly followed State regulations and was sometimes disconnected, localised and scientific aspects to its management and the sustainability was not high. Since the participation of UK experts, institutions have witnessed positive changes from the cognitive stage “focusing on students” to the teaching stage having inspired learners and built a campus environment. Despite the project having ended, its positive impact has been maintained by connecting activities, networking, sharing successful experiences in vocational schools. The number of beneficiaries from 21 participating institutions is up to to 1,379 managers, teachers and staff.
Binh said “the second project” was small, but “extremely valuable”. It was launched in March 2018, another success from the previous project. It involves coordination with the British Council in applying UK standards to quality assessment training in two vocational schools in Vietnam. This is the first time foreign experts have evaluated the level of satisfaction of international quality standards of vocational education in Vietnam. The evaluation results and recommendations were extremely important to vocational schools in Vietnam in achieving international standards. To further enhance the project’s effectiveness, the British Council will continue its support with four vocational schools in the automotive section evaluated by UK standards in 2018.
As such, he highly praised the British Council’s approach and expertise: “The British Council strongly believes in its partners, running the content clearly with maximum initiative. The projects are implemented very smoothly. British Council staff are professional and open-minded, the UK experts are willing to share their knowledge and experience.”
Looking forward, he welcomed further close support from the British Council: “We are ready to coordinate, research together and use different funding structures.” His dream is to have all institutions in Vietnam with a system of quality management training, because “it is an urgent matter to focus on the international path to improve the quality of training, and successfully implement the policy of promoting self-reliance in association with accountability of institutions”.
“The British Council is very professional, understands the issues of Vietnam and shares common goals in cooperation.”