With construction of its new campus now underway at the Ecopark Township in northern Hung Yen province, Mr. Jesse David Boone General Director of British University Vietnam (BUV), spoke with VET about the new campus and Vietnam's education investment potential.
■ BUV has officially begun construction of its new campus at the Ecopark Township. Why did it choose this time to build the campus?
From the beginning, BUV decided to build a strategic partnership and a win-win cooperative arrangement with Vihajico (the investor of the Ecopark Township). That is why we choose this time to build our new campus at Ecopark. Once Ecopark is fully finished and commences operations it will be a complex of business, education and recreation. Ecopark is conveniently located in Hung Yen province, which has a long history of supporting higher education. The provincial leadership has been extremely supportive and cooperative and we are proud to be in Hung Yen.
Moreover, Ecopark represents the future, with world-class facilities and a pristine natural environment for people to enjoy. This is a perfect match for our campus, which will feature the most modern learning facilities, cutting-edge technologies, and enjoyable recreational amenities.
■ BUV is the first and only university in the country to be fully licensed to deliver undergraduate degree programs of the University of London and Staffordshire University. Do you think that Vietnam has potential for foreign direct investment (FDI) in education?
I think that Vietnam’s leadership, education system, and population in general have always held education in the highest regard. This fundamental support to develop the leaders of the future is the perfect foundation for investment in education here.
■ What do you expect when the first phase of the project opens at the end of 2017?
We expect our new campus to redefine the university experience for Vietnamese students. We also expect to see a spike in interest from foreign students wishing to experience Vietnam, resulting in a truly multicultural environment where students will be prepared for a global career. Finally, we expect our graduates to continue to be employed by the top companies in Vietnam and to become true leaders in their chosen fields, and for the close relationships between BUV and top companies to only grow stronger.
■ Figures show that Vietnamese parents invested more than $1.5 million in their children studying abroad in 2014. What do you think about this figure?
The figure demonstrates the strong desire in the market for the high level of quality British degrees BUV offers. It’s the same degree, curriculum, lecturers, experience, and employability, at 70 per cent less than completing the full degree in the UK. We believe this is a value proposition that will interest many Vietnamese families and we are proud to be creating opportunities.
■ What are the opportunities and challenges for investors in education in Vietnam?
The opportunity, as mentioned above, is that the people of Vietnam are well-known for their passion for education and demand better and better opportunities. Improving the experience and career opportunities of graduates is the challenge. Putting together the right location, educational partners, funding, and government support is a short list of what it takes to overcome this challenge. BUV has worked hard to achieve each of these elements and is in a great position for its new campus to thrive.
■ Besides Hanoi, will BUV invest in other potential locations such as Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang?
Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang are both very interesting markets that could be considered in the future. The key for us is to set up where there is the need and support for a top university like BUV, and we will keep our options and our eyes open for future opportunities to bring world-class British education to Vietnamese students throughout the country.