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Education a key facet of Vietnam-Australia relations

Released at: 15:26, 22/05/2017

Education a key facet of Vietnam-Australia relations

Photo: Quynh Nguyen

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Craig Chittick, tells VET's Quynh Nguyen about the growth of cooperation between Vietnam and Australia in the field of education.

by Quynh Nguyen

■ How many Vietnamese students are studying in Australia at the moment? What do you think about the quality of these students?

There are currently 22,500 Vietnamese students studying in Australia. These students have a very good academic record and have received positive feedback from academics. This year, the Australian Government intends to offer 60 Masters scholarships in Vietnam.

■ What subjects are favored by Vietnamese students in Australia?

Most of these students like business management and I think this is also a very important field for Vietnam’s development. Many other fields, such as healthcare, public administration, and law are also popular among many Vietnamese students. We consider scholarship programs an opportunity for Australia to provide a broader range of support to Vietnam’s education sector.

■ How would you evaluate Australia’s investments in Vietnam’s education sector over the past year? What are the opportunities and challenges for investment relations in the years to come?  

Investment by Australian organizations and businesses in the field of education in Vietnam is still developing very strongly. Maybe they do not appear in many articles or in the media, but I have attended many investment projects in Dong Thap, Nghe An and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces. They not only invest in higher education but also in vocational training. For example, Da Nang has a leading Australian college in the field of tourism training. We are very pleased that the Vietnamese Government is encouraging the participation of foreign investors in the field of education and I am confident that, with favorable conditions, the relationship between the two countries will continue to be bright and that there will be many opportunities for education cooperation in the future.

The partnership will be enhanced by new air routes. Recently, Jetstar Pacific Airlines opened direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne and Sydney. Vietnam Airlines has also recently opened a direct flight from Hanoi to Sydney. There will be another low-cost airline opening new routes from Vietnam to Australia next year. With these routes, it is hoped there will be more opportunities for travel between the two countries at low cost, boosting tourism and further developing education. I am optimistic about the development of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, not only in education but also in cooperation between businesses and people.

■ Education is an important element of the relationship between Vietnam and Australia. What programs are there to promote the relationship in the future?

Education is a very important component of our diplomatic relations. We have about 50,000-60,000 Vietnamese who studied in Australia. They are an important bridge in the relationship between the two countries because they have a good understanding both of Vietnam and of Australia and can contribute positively in terms of culture, economics, and society. And they are a very important part of our agenda. We will have a program to develop alumni in Vietnam. For us, it is important how they apply the knowledge gained to contribute to Vietnam’s economic development.

There will be many opportunities for Vietnamese students to gain access to an Australian education in the future via online training. Currently within the framework of APEC, we have a cooperation project with Vietnam to develop online courses in the country, with the aim of Vietnamese students accessing Australia’s education model.

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