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Australian experts sowing the seeds of Vietnamese higher education reforms

Lecturer Vu Trong Luong with colleagues and Australian experts in a group work session
Lecturer Vu Trong Luong (left) with colleagues and Australian experts in a group work session

Education & Times Newspaper – Mr. Vu Trong Luong, Head of Science, Technology, and International Cooperation Division, Tay Bac University, has finished an advanced course on Leadership, Governance, and Strategic Planning conducted by The University of Sunshine Coast, Australia (USC) as part of the Aus4Skills’s program.

Luong was excited to share his achievements thanks to the course with experienced Australian experts. He put into practice at Tay Bac University two examples of how to apply the knowledge provided by the course.

How to deal with opposing viewpoints

Before the course, Luong was conservative and reluctant to change. When receiving opposing viewpoints or replies in his daily work or team work, sometimes he felt uncomfortable and reacted petulantly. Through the course, thanks to the knowledge on leadership, governance, professional working, and on how to respect differences, he realized the benefits of listening to and sharing different viewpoints in a team. Multiple opinions from different aspects bring a more transparent and objective perspective to a problem to be solved.

“Upon this realization, I know how to approach and handle opposing opinions, through asking questions like: How did you come up with this idea? What are benefits we can obtain? After hearing their answers, I will continue to ask further and encourage a deeper discussion. Eventually, I will not only see the benefits and advantages of different opinions but also feel at ease and reach a common understanding about the most effective method to implement our work at the university.” Mr. Luong shared

To Luong, this course is a life-changing experience in which participants are able to improve their leadership and management. Ms. Tami Harriot, Manager, Global Project Development, University of Sunshine Coast (Australia), who directly delivered the course, was particularly impressed with changes in this participant from Tay Bac University. She recalled: “On the first day we met, after experts explained the course’s contents, he said: “They are not feasible in Vietnam at this stage!”. However, by now, he asserted that: “I am sure it is possible to make these changes!”

Mr. Vu Trong Luong received a Certificate of Course Participation from Ms. Tami Harriot an Australian expert
Mr. Vu Trong Luong received a Certificate of Course Participation from Ms. Tami Harriot, an Australian expert 

Sowing the seeds of Vietnamese higher education reforms

The second example which shared by Mr. Luong is how he was inspired by Australian experts to reform university education, in particular to develop a plan and strategy at Tay Bac University.

Before the course, Tay Bac University had a strategic plan with unrealistic visions, objectives, solutions, and an incoherent means of implementation.

After the course, Luong presented the importance of a strategic plan in front of the Party Committee, University Management Board, departments, and staff of the university and gained strong support and agreement. The university decided to develop a new strategic plan as a compass for all activities.

Thanks to direction, support from the university leaders at at levels, knowledge from the course, and consultancy from Australian experts, Tay Bac University finalized a specific and practical strategic plan which is suitable with the context of higher education reform, international competitiveness, reduction in enrolment numbers, and educational quality.

With support from the Party Committee and Management Board at Tay Bac University, the inspiration to change was spread from Luong to his colleagues. At the final presentation of the course, Luong proudly presented the university strategic plan with clear visions to experts and fellow participants.

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Mr Vu Trong Luong

Some people said that short courses provide theoretical knowledge which cannot be applied immediately! However, what I have obtained from this course is so valuable! An important feature is that lecturers always encouraged us and made us believe that we are able to do it, with crucial skills provided during the course. Thanks to the “magic hands” of Australian experts, these skills became inspirational sources to us, they sowed the seeds, nurtured them frequently, and helped to grow into trees. Although the course is completed, the knowledge and inspiration brought by the experts will continue to support each participant, each tree to develop sustainably in the future!”– Mr. Vu Trong Luong said.

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Source: Translation of an article on GD&TD