Vietnam learns Australia’s experience in university governance and autonomy


A Vietnamese delegation led by Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, Director General of the Department of Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education and Training, learned about Australia’s experience in university governance and autonomy in their recent visit. 

The delegation working with RMIT University Victoria
The delegation working with RMIT University, Victoria (Photo provided by the delegation)

Led by Director General of the Department of Tertiary Education Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, the delegation comprised of officials from the Ministry of Education and Training, the Government Office, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance. The visit was organized from 19 to 26 May, as part of the Aus4Skills program funded by the Australian Government for the 2016-2020 period. 

Rector of Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry and National Economics University, Education Officer of Australian Embassy in Vietnam are also members of the delegation. 

On May 20, the delegation visited and worked with Australian Department of Education and Training in Canberra, they learnt about higher education in Australia, governance and quality assurance in higher education system, the role of the department and other agencies in tertiary education management, including the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TESQA), the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), and the Australian Research Council (ARC). 

The department is responsible for devising policies and programs to facilitate pre-school, general, tertiary, international education, and academic research, instead of directly managing educational establishments and universities. 

Except for the Australian National University (ANU) administered by the federal government, Australian universities are established based on state and territory laws.

During a working session with the National Association of Australian University Colleges, the delegation learned about its role as an organization representing 39 Australian universities in building education policies of the government and relevant management agencies.

On May 21, the delegation visited the Australian National University (ANU) to learn about university governance. At the university, a representative from the Australian National University (ANU) introduced its structure and governance process which ensures its education quality and academic standards. 

Delegates later discussed the autonomy model in an Australian university and relations between its council and management apparatus to ensure efficiency and objectivity in management. 

On May 22, 23, and 25, in Melbourne city of Victoria state, the delegation held working sessions and discussions with professors from the University of Melbourne, the RMIT University and others to look into their autonomy process, governance structure and procedure at universities in states, as well as relations between university and management organizations, such as Australian Association for Tertiary Education Management and the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association. 

The final visit was to TESQA, which is responsible for supporting education accreditation in Australian universities, thus improving their stature on international arena. 

Through discussions, members learned that TESQA is an independent government agency and is responsible for controlling and evaluating the educational quality of Australian universities. TEQSA's mission is to enhance the status and quality of Australian universities internationally, as well as ensure similar quality of output between universities at national and local level. 

According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, Head of the Delegation, the knowledge and experience gained from the trip is very useful for the process of drafting and promulgating regulations guiding the amendment of the Higher Education Law in 2018. In which, there is an important content to expand autonomy rights for universities in academic, human resource and financial aspects.

Useful information from the visit will be analyzed and presented by the delegation members at a seminar on June 15, in Hanoi and will be consulted to overcome difficulties and limitations on the autonomy process of Vietnamese universities, from the perspective of state management agencies as well as university leaders.

Source: Translation of an article on

Additional information