A Student-centred Employability Framework, and a mobile app used to investigate and record ‘live’ work place practices for targeted discussion in the vocational education classroom are two tangible outcomes of the partnership between Birmingham City University (BCU), Nguyen Tat Thanh University (NTTU), the University of Education HCMC, and the University of Education, Vietnam National University Hanoi.
The framework supports vocational educators to review and develop pedagogy in relation to key areas of practitioner learning including student-centred assessment, reflective practice, mentoring and coaching. The mobile app approach, drawing on the framework principles, enables educators to design educational experiences that bridge the divide between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ and which provide richer classroom learning experiences directly relevant to the world of work.
Prof. Alex Kendall, the project leader from BCU said, ‘It has been a valuable opportunity to develop and extend our international partnership network with universities in Vietnam. The project has enabled BCU to extend its global reach. We are hopeful that a number of shared postgraduate and undergraduate programmes will emerge out of the work, and that we will be able to continue to pursue our pedagogical research agenda with our Vietnamese partners. We have built a high trust, dynamic extended partnership, and have plenty of ideas about how we might continue to work together in relation to programme and academic development, research and international student and staff exchanges.’
The three local universities also appreciated the opportunity to join the project. The NTTU project coordinator said, ‘The project has positive impact on teachers, students and the project team members. Our teachers learnt a new teaching framework and methodology and increased their confidence working with UK professors. Students have exposure to a new methodology where they have more contact with teachers for guidance and receive more frequent feedback on their work. The project team members are also able to enhance their capacity in research, writing and implementing international projects.’
The project team is now working on the publication of the conference proceedings, an academic journal article, and potentially a book proposal: ‘Vocational Pedagogies in International Contexts’. The partners are also discussing partnership possibilities in running 2+1 undergraduate programmes and an MA in Education as a follow-up to the project.
The project is supported by the British Council under the Higher Education Partnership (HEP) Fund. The HEP is aimed at enabling and expanding partnerships between UK and Vietnamese universities; sharing UK experiences and expertise; and building capacity for Vietnamese universities to meet Vietnam’s higher education renovation targets. The HEP’s priorities include university governance, quality assurance, teaching and learning, as well as research and employability.