Cooperation in education is one of the key pillars in Vietnam-UK relations and promises much for the future.
Mr. Christopher Jeffery, Dean of the British University Vietnam (BUV), who has 20 years of teaching experience in over 50 countries around the world, has decided to stay with Vietnam’s education sector for the long term. His decision reflects the close relationship in educational cooperation between Vietnam and the UK over a long period of time. In the joint statement issued during the visit to Vietnam by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, both PMs emphasized that educational and training cooperation is a priority in the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership and pledged to continue to deepen the cooperative relationship.
Over recent years Vietnam and the UK have developed many cooperative educational and training programs, in English language training, vocational education, and the training of government personnel. According to the Ambassador of Vietnam to the UK, H.E. Nguyen Van Thao, educational cooperation is an important bridge to promote exchanges and foster friendship between the two peoples, especially the younger generation, thereby contributing to developing sustainable relationships between the two countries.
It is estimated that there are about 10,000 Vietnam students now studying in the UK. They have an important role in promoting the image of a Vietnam that is innovative, dynamic, intellectual, and actively integrating internationally. Every year the British Government awards 25 to 30 scholarships for Vietnamese students in Vietnam, and there are also 32 joint training programs between Vietnamese and UK educational institutions.
Two months ago the BUV officially began construction of a new campus at the Ecopark Township in northern Hung Yen province. It attracted public attention because there are few international universities as large as BUV in Vietnam. Moreover, the project may well facilitate inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK to Vietnam, which remain modest.
The project is one of the largest FDI projects in education in Vietnam, covering an area of 6.5 ha with investment of $70 million, and will educate 7,000 full-time students once opened. According to Mr. Jesse David Boone, General Director of BUV, the new campus highlights the attractiveness of FDI in Hung Yen province in particular and in Vietnam in general. “Our Ecopark campus will act as a foundation for BUV in Vietnam and we are proud to commit to such a long-term investment in education.”
UK Trade & Investment and The Training Gateway organized a third trade mission by British education and training organizations to Vietnam in May. Various professional development programs were represented on the trade mission, including courses with industry-recognized accreditation, programs for primary, secondary and higher education teachers, specialist English language training, globalization and cultural awareness training, and educational partnerships. Expertise areas were introduced, such as leadership and management training, soft skills, English language training, human resources management and assessment tools, and teacher recruitment. “UK universities, colleges and private training providers are looking for a wide range of educational partnership opportunities,” the Embassy of the UK in Vietnam said in a press release at the time.
The Vietnam-UK University will also be established in Da Nang shortly, based on the Vietnam-UK Institute for Reach and Executive Education. The university is a cooperative arrangement between Da Nang University, one of the most dynamic in Vietnam, Aston University, a Top 10 university in UK training future millionaires, businesses and organizations from around the world such as Rolls-Royce and Tate & Lyle, the British Council, and the British Business Group in Vietnam (BBGV). It will bring a new approach to education in Vietnam: education and training associated with enterprises.
Ambassador Thao said that cooperation in education and training between the two countries holds great prospects in the future. Vietnam has significant demand for high-quality human resources to serve its development. Strengthening cooperation with the UK, a country with advanced an education system, will meet that need. “The good news is that with momentum in the development of bilateral relations, UK partners are more and more interested in enhancing long-term cooperation with Vietnam,” he said.
In September the Embassy of Vietnam in the UK will cooperate with the Ministry of Education and Training, the British Council, and a number of related agencies to hold the first Vietnam - UK Educational Forum in London, which will feature deeper discussions on the opportunities and challenges and specific educational cooperation programs between the two countries. “To make Vietnam-UK cooperation in education and training more sustainable, both sides need to create the framework and adopt new cooperation models,” Ambassador Thao said. The forms of cooperation should also be diversified, from joint training, the building of curriculum, mutual recognition of qualifications, exchange of students and volunteers, training cooperation, and short-term training, to further attract investment from the UK to Vietnam.