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VAS's greatest achievement: Children's growth and maturity

Released at: 15:21, 09/04/2019

VAS's greatest achievement: Children's growth and maturity

Photos: VAS

Mr. Marcel van Miert, Executive Chairman of Vietnam Australia International School (VAS), tells VET's Huyen Thanh about the valuable lessons learned from his experience in the international education sector in Vietnam and at VAS itself.

Given your experience in consulting and executive management in the field of education, what do you consider to be the most important factors for an educational organization?

In most fields, for an organization to develop well, human resources have to be a key factor. It’s even more important in education. The needs of students must be put first, and teachers need to have open minds and never cease improving their professional skills. The executive management team needs to be passionate about pursuing a vision that adheres to the long-term development goals rather than short term. Finally, everyone at every level has to be focused every day on the common goal of delivering a higher standard of education and care that is valuable to both the student and society at large.

I’m very lucky to be in Vietnam working with a thoroughly responsive team that believes in our academic direction and never stops learning, striving towards perfection, and expanding high-quality educational programmes to be accessed by more students. This helps us recruit increasingly qualified and experienced international and local educators who share the same vision and direction as VAS, making it an ideal learning environment where students can develop in their own way, becoming confident and productive citizens.

 With 15 years of experience, what does VAS wish to share with other educational organizations? 

I think every organization has its own valuable experiences and we’re all learning from each other. VAS, as one of the leaders in the field, has many advantages. In the early years, it applied a high-quality service model in education that met the majority of middle and high-income families’ demands. And then, thanks to the initiatives of our leadership, boards of management, and executives, we brought internationally respected and accredited programmes, which are the industry standard in developed countries. A typical example, the Cambridge International Programme has been taught along with the National Education Programme at all levels in Ho Chi Minh City. Education programmes that teach life skills were also researched, so we partnered with trusted third parties to provide only the best to VAS students before they were widely brought into practice. 

In my opinion, the VAS team has put the focus on education in its rightful place, which is the students. In addition to academic achievements, we consider personal growth and maturity as well as becoming the best version of themselves as our greatest achievement. As for parents, we consider them to be our partners in achieving this, for which we are always truly grateful. Therefore, in every kind of communication, VAS always aims to be respectful but also honest, and in return we receive the support of parents.

VAS receives foreign investment from organizations experienced in international education and thus are understanding and willing to support re-investment in facilities, training and recruiting talent, and creating more unique educational programmes. With this investment, VAS is on the right track towards long-term development and is able to create more value for students, teachers, and parents.

 What direction is VAS heading on this new journey?

Everyone understands that education is not a short-term product. Developed countries have taken decades if not centuries to establish their education programmes and are still researching and improving. Acknowledging all the challenges we have overcome, we truly believe in the current educational activities at VAS. Our 100 per cent international curriculum is well prepared and coming soon to other campuses. Expanding to more new campuses is also essential. It is the organization’s direction in development to bring the VAS model of education to more students in Ho Chi Minh City and elsewhere.

In community activities within our area of expertise, we have plans to continue developing the Training and Career Nurturing Center for Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) in order to improve the teaching quality of CAIE Programmes in Vietnam.

I always tell my colleagues at VAS that our greatest challenge on the new journey is to surpass ourselves, by considering our 15 years as a foundation and to be more creative and proactive, to dare to be different and conquer new heights. There is only one core practice that VAS won’t change - the future success and happiness of our children as our primary mission.

 Having operated in the field of education in many countries, what positive changes can you see currently happening in Vietnam?

Firstly, I believe many positive changes will happen because of the experience we learn from the world’s most esteemed education providers, which are moderately applied, not only at VAS but also at many other organizations. Many education experts in the world are increasingly coming to Vietnam. This will help raise standards and improve the effectiveness of the ways we’re currently managing and developing school systems.

The second is one of maintaining rather than changing. VAS will continue to celebrate and maintain many of the great aspects of Vietnamese education.

The third change seen, in Asian countries in general and in Vietnam in particular, is that many parents and students are gradually liberating themselves from a mindset that only focuses on academic achievement. Instead, they’re leaning increasingly towards gaining life skills, enjoying life and social interaction. The combination of three streams will help our young generation adapt quickly and easily to the world’s development.

Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) was founded in 2004 and is a trustworthy large-scale education organization, with eight campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and more than 8,500 students enrolled from kindergarten to high school level. 
VAS is currently the only organization providing complete learning pathways suitable for each student’s demand:
• Pathway 1: Cambridge 100 per cent International Education Programme (Grade 9-12).
• Pathway 2: Cambridge International Education Programme, combined with the National Educational Programme.
• Pathway 3: Cambridge Advanced English Programme, combined with the National Educational Programme.
Students enrolling in the Cambridge International Education Programme (Pathway 1 & 2) will graduate with a Cambridge IGCSE and AS & A-Level given by Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE). This qualification is recognized worldwide and is also an entry ticket for students who wish to apply to leading universities in countries such as the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Many US universities give credits in first-year subjects to students who achieved good results in the A-Level Programme.

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