Son Tung

The British Council, with support from the British Embassy, joined hands with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to hold a networking reception in Hanoi on 12 March 2019 to showcase the outcomes of the UK–Vietnam Higher Education Partnership (UK–VN HEP) initiative, facilitate future collaboration opportunities and introduce the call for UK–VN HEP for 2019-2020.

This event follows a commitment made by Vietnam's MoET Minister Mr Phung Xuan Nha at the Education World Forum 2019 in London two months ago to work closely with the UK in promoting university industry linkages, enabling more transnational education partnerships, supporting university leadership and governance. As an initial result of UK–VN HEP, a network of 14 UK universities and education institutions and 30 Vietnamese universities was created with positive outcomes in its first year of collaboration.

At the networking reception, outcomes of the UK–Vietnam higher education network were showcased to British Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Gareth Ward, MoET Vice Minister Mr Nguyen Van Phuc, representatives from Global Wales and 130 higher education leaders and experts from the UKVietnam higher education network and other delegates. 

Maximising the value of university industry collaboration, supporting the role of universities in Vietnam's creative industry, fostering a culture of quality, strengthening connections between universities were the main discussion topics between UK and Vietnam universities at the reception. This event was also an opportunity for universities to share experiences of eight (UK–VN HEP) projects in four key areas of priorities (leadership and governance, transnational education (TNE) and quality assurance, university industry linkages and research and mobility).

Speaking at the event, Vice Minister Phuc shared: 'The UK is a partner with strong and rapid development of education relations with Vietnam. The MoET encourages greater cooperation between UK universities, educational institutions and Vietnamese partners. Through the memorandum of understanding signed between the MoET and British Council in Vietnam, a UK–Vietnam higher education network was created and has shown very positive results at this early stage. We hope that this network will continue to strongly develop in the future.'

​Global Wales representative Ms. Mairwen Harris also attended the event and underlined the positive cooperation between Global Wales and five Vietnamese universities in the field of leadership and governance. Going forward, Welsh universities and educational institutions wanted to increase collaboration and capacity building with Vietnam.

Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) is one of five Vietnamese universities in the consortium working with Global Wales. HUST President Associate Professor Hoang Minh Son said: 'Vietnamese universities can learn a lot from the model of Welsh universities, from the government, ministry to school-level. Participating in the project and sharing experiences with Global Wales representatives was a good chance for Vietnamese educational leaders to acknowledge the change in higher education globally and identify significant similarities in internationalisation, autonomy and budget limitations facing universities across the world.'

He said Vietnamese educational leaders must learn from educational models of developed countries, their successes and failures as well as whether they were appropriate for higher education in Vietnam.

He said one of the biggest challenges that faced Vietnamese universities was to improve the quality of leadership as well as the qualifications, teaching quality and quantity of lecturers. While the government had facilitated innovations in education, universities still needed more investment to develop higher education and make it a major driver of economic development. The rapid increase in technological advancements had created profound changes in workforce demands, economic realities and education. Therefore, university leaders, lecturers and students must prepare a solid foundation and the ability to adapt to foster future sustainable developments in education, he said.

Besides, representatives from other projects also shared outcomes and how collaboration with UK partners and study tours to the UK had enhanced their institutions. Highlights included Developing a sustainable network on university industry link, and research and mobility by University of Salford, Hanoi University of Mining and Geology and Can Tho University and Developing a framework for maximising the value of university industry collaboration in Vietnam through international partnerships for knowledge exchange and development of quality industry-ready graduates by Foreign Trade University and Bournemouth University and Fostering a culture of quality by National Economics University and Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

The UK–VN HEP has great potential to develop in the future. The UK and British Council are committed to supporting the internationalisation of higher education and fostering educational collaboration between two nations by sharing experience and expertise in strategic fields with the MoET.​