RMIT committed to advancing Australia-Vietnam education

February 22, 2023 | 11:39
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For nearly 25 years, RMIT University is proud to have been an exemplary Australian investor in Vietnam, a contributor to the knowledge economy, and a bridge for people-to-people links.

RMIT was invited by the government of Vietnam to set up the first foreign-owned university in the country way back in 1998, when education was a rising national priority to spur growth and integration into the global economy.

RMIT committed to advancing Australia-Vietnam education
Prof. Claire Macken - General director RMIT University Vietnam

RMIT Vietnam officially opened a campus in Ho Chi Minh City in 2000 and introduced the first classes in Hanoi in 2004, followed by a language training centre in Danang in 2018. Our operations here have now grown to include four schools offering programmes across pre-university, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

From day one, the goal was an intention to make an impactful contribution to Vietnam, especially through the lives of the young people we help shape through education. With over 12,000 current students and 17,000 alumni graduating over the past 20 years, I believe our impact in this country is long-lasting.

Every single student who graduates from RMIT Vietnam with an Australian degree connects our two countries together. Our strong bonds and relationships forged by the many years of educating Vietnamese students in Australia, as well as here, means that we are a proud part of the education landscape, industry ecosystems and broader communities here.

At the Australian Vietnam Policy Institute speech at RMIT University in Melbourne in December, Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue stated, “With over 30,000 Vietnamese students and research fellows currently studying in Australia, education cooperation has become a cultural bond connecting the friendship between the two countries.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this view. I see that we have a critical role to play in Vietnam’s development. Our obligation as a higher education institution is to the communities we serve.

As we go forward, we want to continue to be an integral and respected contributor to Vietnam’s development through the education we provide and the connections we help build.

We are proud that, to date, RMIT is Australia’s largest service investment in Vietnam and remains the largest foreign education investor here. We are also the biggest overseas campus of any Australian university.

But just as the two nations have changed over the past decades, so has RMIT. Right now, we are addressing the scale of our operations into the future, including new investments into physical locations to enable our university to continue serving the growing needs of Vietnam.

As we look to the years ahead, we are committed to setting a direction for us in Vietnam to embrace a greater regional focus, extending thought leadership, educational offerings and partnerships into Southeast Asia to drive regional impact around shared challenges and themes.

A priority for RMIT as a university is to act as the door to understand and engage with Southeast Asia. This approach to engagement leverages its history and positioning in Vietnam to contribute to Australia’s understanding of, and relationship with, this country and the wider region.

RMIT committed to advancing Australia-Vietnam education
RMIT Vietnam is set to extend educational offerings and partnerships in Vietnam and the wider region

Along with our education, it includes initiatives such as the Asia Trade and Innovation Hub, a partnered platform created in collaboration with the Asia Society Australia to curate regional knowledge and connections.

We are also a founding partner of the Australia Vietnam Policy Institute, Australia’s first policy institute focused on its relationship with Vietnam, which is building a community of Australian industry, government, educational institutions, think tanks, and non-profits passionate about increasing links with this country.

It also includes leveraging RMIT’s research expertise around Vietnam, both on-the-ground and across its international network, to contribute to knowledge curation and thought leadership that will further its relationships with Australia and the region.

Leaders of Australia and Vietnam have announced the intention to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Within that endeavour, I look forward to the different ways that RMIT University can contribute to creating a positive impact and addressing shared challenges and opportunities – not just in our two countries, but for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

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