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Old December 9th, 2006, 02:22 AM   #1
Siddude
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Viet Nam needs a "World Class" university

I found this article about VN's need for a university that is internationally renowned. I don't know why it is taking the government so long to develop one. It's ridiculous for a Confucian based society not to have a world class university in VN.

http://www.aseanfocus.com/asiananaly...articleID=1002


Higher Education Reform and World-Class Universities

Recent calls for education reform in Vietnam have become increasingly more public, more organized and more intensive. A typical example of this movement is the Education Reform Seminar headed by Professor Hoang Tuy, an internationally renowned Vietnamese mathematician. While serious problems can be found at all stages of the Vietnam's education system, reform discussions have typically been focused on the higher education level. This is easy to comprehend for a number of reasons. Firstly, the majority of Vietnamese individuals who engage in the education reform debate are university academics. Secondly, the university is the final and most visible stage of the education process. Thirdly, higher education is, relative to the region, perhaps the weakest stage of education in Vietnam. Fourthly, and most importantly, university reform represents possibly the most viable short-cut education reform strategy from a cost-benefit perspective.

After former PM Phan Van Khai's visit to Harvard University in June 2005, the term 'world-class' university, in spite of its ambiguous meaning, has appeared at regular frequency in the Vietnamese press. Following this visit, the Vietnamese Government invited the Vietnam Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to prepare a proposal for developing top-tier universities in Vietnam. This proposal for discussion was submitted to the PM in October 2005 by Professor Thomas Vallely, the director of the Harvard Vietnam Program. Independently, a more detailed and comprehensive plan for establishing one or two high-quality universities in Vietnam by a group of six overseas Vietnamese intellectuals (including the author) was also presented to the PM at roughly the same time.

In February 2006, the Vietnamese Government formally set up a Working Group in charge of the preparation of a plan to establish world-class universities in Vietnam. Following the report of this Working Group, former PM Khai issued, approximately a year after his Harvard visit, Decision No. 145/2006/Q-TTg setting out the Government's guidelines and directions for the construction of world-class universities in Vietnam. According to this Decision's timetable, the Working Group is expected to present the preferred model of a world-class university to the PM in early 2007. The main points in the draft proposal of the Working Group include:

i) The Government's initial funding will be about US$100 million over three years;

ii) Government funding will constitute a major part of the university's recurrent budget, especially in the first 10 years;

iii) The cooperation of leading international universities, especially those in the US, will be sought.

iv) Academic staff will consist of leading teachers/researchers in Vietnam and a sizeable proportion of academic staff will be world-class overseas scholars, including overseas Vietnamese.

v) The university will offer degrees at bachelor, master and doctoral levels. In the first five years, total student numbers will range between 1,000 and 1,500 in each year.

vi) The university will initially focus on a small number of strategic areas relating to the natural sciences and industry. Courses will be taught in Vietnamese and English.

Sadly, however from the way in which 'world-class' is defined, it is apparent that past errors are being repeated during the planning phase of this project. The first obvious problem relates to the announced time frame. The draft proposal suggests that Vietnam would be able to build a university that is internationally competitive within 10 years. This is exactly the sort of over-optimistic and unachievable time target that was announced when the National Universities in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City were first set up by merging various local universities. This historical lesson must be learnt and what is important now is to articulate a time frame that is consistent with the fact that no Vietnamese university is seriously ranked within ASEAN, let alone East Asia. A more realistic and achievable time frame would be 10-15 years to become the top university in Vietnam, 20-30 years to be ranked in the top 10 of ASEAN universities, etc.

The second and more serious problem is concerned with the construction of the world-class university. Is this going to be a newly built university with new staff or is it going to be formed by combining and upgrading some existing, reputed universities and research institutes? The common sense approach is to build a new university because (a) the physical facilities and infrastructure of existing institutions are relatively small, outdated and separated; (b) the organizational structure and management at existing universities are too rigid, (c) there are too many vested interests in the current system, and (d) it would be too difficult to deal with those existing staff who do not qualify to work for this world-class university. This prevailing view is confirmed in the Working Group's draft proposal, which indicates that a world-class university will be built on a new campus of 100 ha. However, in a subsequent media interview, Mr Tran Xuan Gia, the then Head of the Working Group, indicated that the construction of a new campus is only a possibility, not a certainty. This situation again demonstrates the inertia of the Vietnamese university system and the influence of certain interest groups within the sector.

The third problem is concerned with the role of the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in the leadership, organization, management and monitoring of the proposed university. For a variety of historical reasons, the MOET currently wields considerable power over curricular and personnel matters in the structure of Vietnam's education system, even at university level. It is well known that academic excellence tends to be positively associated with university autonomy and academic freedom. Thus, the development of a world-class university in Vietnam necessarily calls for a more decentralized governance model in which the university enjoys a much higher degree of autonomy than now. Such a model of decentralization is by no means guaranteed under the Working Party's draft proposal. In fact, since the establishment of a world-class university can be regarded as an experiment, one may even argue for a more extreme model in which the university is practically independent of the MOET (this means university funding must come directly from the Government); and, reports directly to the PM.

There are of course other relevant issues such as whether a one-off grant of US$100 million is adequate for one world-class university, or how does the new university attract a sufficient number of world-class staff. However, these problems are less serious than those discussed above and, thus, are more surmountable.


WATCHPOINT: Whether an entirely new 'world-class' university is built or not will indicate the strength of Vietnam's commitment to higher education reform.

Associate Professor Binh Tran-Nam
Atax, Faculty of Law
University of New South Wales


More Articles on Vietnam More Articles by Associate Professor Binh Tran-Nam
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Old December 9th, 2006, 05:27 AM   #2
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Old December 9th, 2006, 05:41 AM   #3
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Siddude,

YEAH... why doesn't VN invest in something worthwhile for the people of VN !!!
Why don't they spend the time and effort to develop,

1. A technical school as well-known as Caltech, MIT... in SE Asia.
2. An agriculture school like UC Davis that helps California feeding the world
3. General engineering and medical excellence like UCLA (I got to get this one in for my alma-mater )

When will we see the precious resource expended in the right place to help VN for generation to come...

When will we hear kids the world over boasting to attend universities in VN?
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Old December 9th, 2006, 05:48 AM   #4
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Old December 9th, 2006, 05:57 AM   #5
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Yes skidlin,
If you have a chance to go to Westwood, specifically Boelter Hall (I don't know what they call nowaday since I left school long, long time ago ), you'll find my class picture with a bunch of other original VK engineers that dared to pave the way for the rest to follow . BTW, my last few school letters showing Viet Am graduated with top honor ...
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Old December 9th, 2006, 06:08 AM   #6
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That's cool, Capee.

Have you heard of Quang X Pham? He's a Bruin. I used to hangout in Westwood all the time 10 years ago. I met him a couple of time.

Check out this article about how VK can help VN. Amazing, it states that over 34,000 Viet Kieus have a PhD. That would be more than any other ASEAN nations combined, I think.

http://www.aseanfocus.com/asiananaly...?articleID=897

Mobilizing Overseas Vietnamese Human Capital to Promote Economic Growth in Vietnam

Following the end of the Vietnam War, there has been a massive outflow of Vietnamese refugees and migrants to developed countries, normally with restrictive immigration policies such as in North America, Western Europe and Australasia. The total number of Vietnam-born persons living outside Vietnam is currently estimated between 2.5 and 3 million; nearly half of that number residing in the US. After three decades of resettlement, the community of overseas Vietnamese collectively possesses a considerable amount of economic resources. Working towards channeling these resources to aid economic growth in Vietnam represents both an exciting opportunity and a difficult challenge for the Vietnamese Government.

Overseas Vietnamese have been playing an important role in sending much-needed hard currency to Vietnam. Their remittances to Vietnam reached 1.75 billion, 2.15 billion, 3 billion and more than 3 billion USD in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, respectively. Their total remittance to Vietnam in the past 14 years amounted to over US$15 billion, which is equivalent to almost 60 per cent of the FDI implemented in Vietnam during the same period and is greater than the total disbursed ODA since 1993. Assuming that remittances to Vietnam from overseas Vietnamese represent 10 per cent of their income, this implies that the combined annual income of Vietnamese emigrants is at least US$30 billion, which equals about 75 per cent of Vietnam's current GDP. This is indeed a tremendous resource for Vietnam to draw upon for its FDI requirements in the future.

Even more important than the overseas Vietnamese community's financial capability is their human capital. They are well educated and trained, have access to up-to-date knowledge and possess substantial technical and managerial work experience. For example, based on the US Census 2000 data, there were in the US about 190,000 Vietnamese university graduates; about 34,000 of whom held doctoral degrees. They work in many industries that are strategic to Vietnam's drive for modernization. The number of overseas Vietnamese in the US holding managerial positions (ranging from line manager and operating manager to executive director) is also substantial.

The Vietnamese Government has so far enjoyed only limited successes in tapping into this vast pool of human capital. This remains so for several main reasons. First, many Vietnamese intellectuals living overseas still distrust or oppose the Vietnamese Government due to ideological differences or unhappy personal experiences. Additionally, for those who are willing to cooperate with the Government, they often risk the wrath of their local communities and media. Secondly, despite the Government's recognition of the potentially important role of overseas Vietnamese, the various government departments are not yet ready and have no strategic or specific plans to fully utilize the short or long-term contributions of overseas Vietnamese experts. The various exchanges between in-country and overseas Vietnamese intellectuals are often fragmented, irregular, and not well coordinated or publicized. Thirdly, emigrant experts who are considering to return to Vietnam often find that the gaps in living and working conditions between developed countries and Vietnam are far too great to be successfully overcome.

However, recent developments suggest that the stage is set for an increasingly higher level of mobilization of the overseas Vietnamese community's human capital in order to promote economic growth in Vietnam. First, regional and international integration has brought home to the Vietnamese the sad reality of how underdeveloped their country still is after almost two decades of Doi Moi. In a recent press article, former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet forcefully argued that poverty and backwardness are truly Vietnam's new enemies. He then emphasized the importance of a new level of unity consciousness amongst the Vietnamese in the fight against these new enemies. His view sought to bring the strength of the entire Vietnamese people into play by mobilizing all their resources, including those of overseas Vietnamese.

Secondly, after 30 years, there is now a generation of overseas-born people of Vietnamese ancestry in various developed nations around the globe. Many of these persons are both highly competent and enthusiastic towards helping Vietnam. Unlike their parents' generation, they are almost free of divisive political ideologies. These young people are thus willing and ready to help Vietnam to develop, and expect little in return.

Thirdly, the overseas Vietnamese experts in the age group of 5065 now have independent children and are financially secure. Many of them are willing to either spend substantial periods of time in Vietnam or return permanently. These persons possess not only rich cultural knowledge and a vast wealth of education and work experience but also important international networks. They can provide the urgently needed 'grey matter', which may be utilized to guide Vietnam to a path of modernity and prosperity.

Willingness and readiness from both parties are necessary but not sufficient to ensure a satisfactory outcome. Recent incentives to attract overseas Vietnamese intellectuals announced at a government-sponsored workshop held in Hanoi during last August are appropriate, but more should be done and done quickly. First and foremost, the Vietnamese Government needs to demonstrate a more genuine spirit of national reconciliation, including acknowledgement of past policy shortcomings. Secondly, the Government should draw lessons from the strategies of China and India, which have been very successfully in bringing together the strengths of their overseas communities for domestic development. Thirdly, specific policy measures need to be not only carefully thought out and consistently executed but also well coordinated between relevant government departments (for example, Science and Technology, Education and Training, and Investment and Planning).

The policy measures should be both forward looking and flexible, and focus upon quality rather than quantity with respect to overseas Vietnamese human capital. Some specific measures that deserve consideration are:

" simplifying travel conditions for overseas Vietnamese to and within Vietnam; " extending the right of overseas Vietnamese to purchase property in Vietnam; " granting dual citizenship to those overseas Vietnamese intellectuals who return home permanently (after a qualifying period); " providing tax incentives and housing subsidies to selected returnees in the early stage of their resettlement; " organizing regular international conferences in relevant areas to link up in-country and overseas Vietnamese experts; " building a technology park and a financial centre (including the stock market) to attract overseas Vietnamese IT and financial specialists, respectively.

A particular area in which overseas Vietnamese experts could contribute and make an immediate impact is in the urgently needed reform of the tertiary education sector in Vietnam. More specifically, in their various capacities as planners, administrators, teachers, researchers and international network facilitators, they could help to establish a high quality multidisciplinary university. This would fit in splendidly with the Government's university reform plan as highlighted by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai during his visit to Harvard University in June this year.

WATCHPOINT: How the Vietnamese Government enacts the recently announced incentive measures will indicate the seriousness of their commitment to mobilizing overseas Vietnamese grey matter.

Associate Professor Binh Tran-Nam
Australian Taxation Studies Program University of New South Wales
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Old December 9th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #7
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Old December 9th, 2006, 06:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidlin View Post
ahh...a comrade ancestral alumni...lol...nice to meet you...it's still Boelter Hall...
skiddlin,

Wow... what's a small world ... Another Bruins!!! I love UCLA since it helped 2-1/2 MS (me, my brother and my other half ) and one MD (my little cousin, she's a smart one in the family). It p*ssed my other-half (a half Trojan since she graduated with a BS from UCLA and MS from SC) last week when we kicked their b*tt

Siddude,

I read somewhere on this board, this guy claimed that we VK are not that successful 'cause we're not making it big like Bill Gates I just wonder how many Bill Gates we got around the world, ya know . I don't want to name my buddy in Sunnyvale, he owns an electronic company that supplies components to Dell and HP , very small feast

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Old December 9th, 2006, 06:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siddude View Post
That's cool, Capee.

Have you heard of Quang X Pham? He's a Bruin. I used to hangout in Westwood all the time 10 years ago. I met him a couple of time.

Check out this article about how VK can help VN. Amazing, it states that over 34,000 Viet Kieus have a PhD. That would be more than any other ASEAN nations combined, I think.
'fraid he's after my time... Don't know him. During my time, Dr Cuong (an aero-physicist) is the smartest guy on engineering campus that we used to ask for help...

Last edited by Capee; December 9th, 2006 at 06:59 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #10
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Another future PhD is David Banh. The guy graduated from University of Virgia with double major in one year and a GPA of 3.7 Try to Google his name and see it for yourself

video of him
http://youtube.com/watch?v=TznnEr0ZFE0

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Old December 9th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #11
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Old December 9th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sqd View Post
Another future PhD is David Banh. The guy graduated from University of Virgia with double major in one year and a GPA of 3.7 Try to Google his name and see it for yourself

video of him
http://youtube.com/watch?v=TznnEr0ZFE0
my alma mater
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Old December 9th, 2006, 09:58 PM   #13
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An alumnus of V of Va? Virginia?
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:27 AM   #14
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i think david banh is not vietnamese.....100% sure
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:36 AM   #15
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He's American Vietnamese

typical asn nerd...but a cool one hehe
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' ' Sài G̣n không bao giờ ngủ - V́ tiền không bao giờ đủ '
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:42 AM   #16
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that university in saigon south....isn't that an international institution?
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bang View Post
i think david banh is not vietnamese.....100% sure
uhh i know him
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:57 AM   #18
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me too
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Old December 10th, 2006, 01:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
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me too
cool? you're student/alumni of UVA?
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Old December 10th, 2006, 08:47 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siddude View Post
First and foremost, the Vietnamese Government needs to demonstrate a more genuine spirit of national reconciliation, including acknowledgement of past policy shortcomings...
Siddude,

I just want to bring this point up to discuss... Unless the commie government acknowledges past mistakes and strikes a reconcilation tone to resolve differences. I just don't see any scenario laid out by this professor would ever occur.

Just look around on this board... You'd see how arrogant the "victor" mentality demonstrated. You'd think that reflects very close to the commie government mindset... It's just doubtful it'll change much of VK opinion on VN.
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