Homeland help for returning students

July 30, 2020 | 09:00
Overseas educational investors are taking a crack at enhancing their presence in Vietnam where huge demands for international joint training programmes are being fuelled by the effects of the pandemic.
1502p18 homeland help for returning students
VinUni is adopting students who previously studied in the United States

Aiming to facilitate the learning needs of thousands of overseas Vietnamese students who have been returning home due to the global health crisis, international joint training programmes between local and foreign universities have been carried out over the past few months.

Praising the direction of the prime minister and the message of Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha, VinUniversity and US Cornell University last week signed a co-operative memorandum to develop the programme named Study Away.

Accordingly, the scheme is reserved for Cornell University’s overseas local students who are unlikely to come back to the United States in the near future. VinUni will adopt the students and support them to continue their US curriculum and study in their hometown.

In line with the movement, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and New Zealand’s government agency Education New Zealand last week also signed a strategic engagement plan on education in the 2020-2023 period. The framework includes joint programmes in the tertiary sector, innovative education models in blended and online delivery, continued collaboration to improve institution-to-institution partnerships for English language training, and alumni engagement.

International universities in the nation such as RMIT Vietnam and Broward Colleges have implemented similar programmes since the pandemic broke out.

As many overseas Vietnamese return to their homeland, the mission of local universities is to offer the most favourable learning climate for the students. On the other hand, that is also “a great opportunity for the collaboration between Vietnamese and overseas universities,” following the statement of Minister Phung Xuan Nha.

According to the MoET, there are about 200,000 overseas Vietnamese students who have mostly studied in the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Moreover, New Zealand in 2018 also recorded more than 2,700 Vietnamese students, consisting of 600 secondary school students. There was also an on-year growth rate of 8 per cent in the number of students studying at universities there.

Melvyn Lim, director at Cambridge International School, told VIR that Vietnam is a huge and promising education market. Specifically, the income level of local citizens has increased, and therefore more and more people can afford to pay higher-level fees for a good education or send their children overseas. “As a result, the trend of investment in local education will keep rising,” Lim said.

Notwithstanding, amid the pandemic, a large number of overseas students have yet to come back to Vietnam due to the travel restrictions on international flight routes.

According to Rohit Verma, principal of VinUni, the trend of international joint training programmes also lures overseas professors into the country, facilitating the learning and studying demand for students.

Vietnam has 70 universities providing international educational curricula and 352 joint training programmes. Currently, the MoET is building up a “standard kit” to monitor the quality of joint training and distance learning programmes, aiming towards the goal of fully monitoring all universities in Vietnam.

Mai Van Trinh, head of the MoET’s Quality Control Department, said that universities in Vietnam have sizably changed the awareness in quality assessment. Instead of focusing on traditional training activities based on classes and physical institutions, the schools have been steadily applying distance learning or joint training methods. “The reversal is also a prerequisite for developing standards to assess the quality of joint training and distance learning programmes,” said Trinh.

By An Nhien

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