Global Education Dialogue 2013

Connecting Asia – preparing higher education to meet the demands of the 21st century   

In partnership with Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam and Aston University, UK

Date:    26-27 November 2013
Venue: Intercontinental Asiana Saigon
             Corner Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan Blvd, District 1
             Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


This event is part of a series of East Asia policy dialogues which will be held in China, Vietnam, UEA, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan. Each Education Dialogue had a specific and focused agenda, which frame the debate on the issues affecting higher education in East Asia and the UK. As global power shifted east towards the Asia-Pacific region, the economies of the East become more central to the world economy. In 2015, ASEAN economic integration meant a more coordinated approach and increased competitiveness of the region. This emphasised on higher productivity and competitiveness in an increasingly global market is reliant on investment in human capital, research and development and technological progress. Investing in education-particularly higher education and skills - was a crucial part of East Asia’s drive toward greater productivity, growth, and technological development.

This Dialogue in Vietnam was debating how universities could respond to these opportunities and challenges. Universities needed to be able to deliver the skills that are needed for productivity and competitiveness. This means that universities have to be connected with business and industry, to each other and to research institutions, both in their own countries and internationally.

Through UK and East Asia case studies, the event has explored:

  • Models for universities in the 21st century
  • Governance and institutional management for successful future universities
  • Enhancing quality to promote collaboration
  • The role of internationalisation
  • Research and the role of industry in commercialisation of innovation

Background Papers

Vietnam Higher Education Law 

Vietnam’s new law on higher education was introduced in January 2013. The law aims to reform and regulate higher education in order to develop the human resources needed for Vietnam’s move towards a knowledge-based economy supported by international collaboration. The law looks at wide range of areas including autonomy, research, science and technology, ownership and quality assurance. 

British Council report 

A recent British Council report reviewed transnational education activity in 25 countries and found that ASEAN offered above average policy and market conditions which facilitated and encouraged international collaboration. Universities wanting to encourage innovation and quality need to seek and encourage international collaboration as well as working with a wider group of global partners such as employers.


  • Key note speeches 
  • Panel and round table discussion


80 policy makers and education leaders from government offices, education and research institutions and business sectors from the UK, East Asia and Vietnam have attended the event.


The Dialogue was conducted entirely in English. 

Excerpts from interviews with spekers

Connecting the Asia - What did they say?

  • 'University_vision is a scenario-planning project to think about the future of the UK, looking at big issues such as environmental issues, politics, social issues, thinking about what future might look like and what that might mean for universities. Using that kind of process, delegates could be able to think about the future of (higher education in) South East Asia.', Sam Jones, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, University Alliance, UK
  • 'What I shared is a joint programme with the University of Danang to create the Vietnam – UK University. We’ve been able to share our plans, programmes and engagement with employers on our aspiration to make any graduates from the institution highly employable in Vietnam.', Professor Alison Halstead, Pro-Vice Chancellor Strategic Academic Developments, Aston University, UK
  • 'My talk focused on the avalanche in higher education, the revolution that is coming in the world of higher education. Basically, I talked about three things. The first thing is about macro-trends that are changing how universities will act and think in the future –  one of them being the changing global economy, the other one being new technologies that are present in higher education, the third one being the rise of global unemployment and the needs to teach students new thing. The second topic was the unbundling of higher education, which is about all of elements of universities such as the curriculum, the teaching, the assessment, etc. These are now being offered by other providers in arguably better places through technology. This creates the opportunity to ‘rebundle’ elements of the universities into a more innovative offering.', Saad Rizvi, Executive Director of Efficacy, Pearson, UK
  • 'Higher education is the future! In the 19th century, towns and cities which grew were close to raw materials. In the 20th century, the towns and cities which grew were close to good transport links. In the 21st century, towns and cities that grow will be those having strong higher education basis.', Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor, University of Bedfordshire, UK
  • 'The higher education system in Vietnam plays a very important role for technology development, supporting economic development. Higher education plays yet a more important role in the context of globalisation, enabling the integration into the global market. The government needs to pay more attention to improving quality systems in higher education in Vietnam.', Associate Professor Dr Ha Thanh Toan, Rector, Can Tho University
  • 'In the UK, a recent trend that most impress me has been the marketisation of higher education. It’s fascinating to see how the state has withdrawn from supplying students with grants and just lent the money which then must be paid.', Alison Goddard, Editor of Higher Education, Policy and Markets in Higher Education 
  • 'We want to have autonomous and open higher education system.', Dr Mya Oo, Lower House of Parliament/ Secretary of Education, Development Committee, Myanmar
  • 'In Laos, students still prefer higher education and look down on vocational education while our country really needs skilled labour force. That’s why we need to reform and to balance the intakes into higher education. Within higher education, we have to balance different subjects in reference to student’s preference.', Madam Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education and Sports, Laos
  • 'While rankings apply to about 3-5% of the world universities and university students, quality assurance is about protecting the entries of 100% of students who study around the world. It’s the job of quality assurance agencies to provide information to help 100% students make good choices of where they’re going to study and have confidence that what they are studying is going to be a good quality experience. And they’ll end up with a qualification that’s recognised for employment or further study.', Carolyn Campbell, Head of International Affairs, The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK
  • 'In Vietnam, the most difficult thing really is the current infrastructure of universities and the fact that research is not highly placed on the Vietnam university agenda. What we look for in universities is their existing reputation and their capabilities in particular areas of science and technology that Rolls-Royce has requirements to investigate further. It’s about finding the right skills set in terms of people and the tools that they have, and also their understanding of the technology that we are working towards. It is important to have a reputation for success in delivering these research projects. That’s the key element of how Rolls-Royce engages with university technology centres around the world for this type of activities. I think about the clarity of the strategy that the Ministry of Education and Training and Vietnamese universities have for drawing in world class partners like Aston University, the British Council and Rolls-Royce. It should be simple and deliverable strategy for engagement with organisations such as these. Until we get a firm commitment from the authorities, then it would be difficult for us to achieve and to deliver the resources. I think it’s about commitment, it’s about clarity and simplicity.', David Priestley, Managing Director, Rolls-Royce International (Vietnam) Ltd.
  • 'International collaboration is one of the shortest way for Vietnam university to approach the world standard. How to find a good partner from overseas is one of the key factors towards a good reputation. First we need to define the needs, what we need and what our partners need, then we develop the collaboration, and the solutions to assure the quality of a programme.', Associate Professor Dr Bui Xuan Lam, Vice Rector, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam
  • 'University research and innovation is generally early stage on such a complicated journey to take it from the university to a product, a process or something tangible that people can use. You have to get industry involved, you have to get other universities involved, might have to get government involved. A lot people and a lot of skills needed to be part of the process. It takes a long time, an investment and quite a lot of people.', Dr Judy Halliday, Senior Director, Commercial Engagement, Science UniQuest, Pty Limited, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 'What are the challenges? Money, students and how to be distinctive and unique in a world where there are 16,000 universities.', Caroline Chipperfield, Deputy Director, Education, British Council East Asia


Day One – 26 November 

 08.30  Registration 
 09.00  Welcome
 09.15 Opening Plenary/ Panel Discusion
University for the 21st century 
 11.00 Coffee break 
11.15  Roundtable discussion
Model of University for the 21st century – Opportunities and Challenges 
12.15  Lunch  
13.30 Parallel sessions
Group 1: Governance and institutional management
Group 2: Enhancing quality to promote collaboration
14.45 Coffee break

Parallel sessions
Group 1: Governance and institutional management
Group 2: Enhancing quality to promote collaboration 


Observations from Day One and closing comments


Dialogue, Day One, ends  

 Day Two – 27 November 

09.00 Reflection of Day One and Introduction to Day Two 
09.15 Plenary
Research models and the role of employers in commercialisation of innovation 
11.00 Coffee break 
11.15 Round table discussion
Research models and the role of employers in commercialisation of innovation 
12.15 Action planning and summary of the event 
12.45 Networking lunch  
14.00 Dialogue ends

External links