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WRAP-UP SYMPOSIUM: COOPERATION PROGRAM BETWEEN AUS4SKILS AND TAY BAC UNIVERSITY

 

In recent years, Tay Bac University (TBU) has strived to promote international cooperation. It was considered one of the important tasks in its strategy for the years 2018 - 2020 and vision to 2030. Since then, significant results were seen and TBU’s cooperation program withAus4Skills was a notable example.

On 27 November 2020, both parties co-organized a wrap-up symposium for the cooperation program. It was an opportunity to review the impacts of cooperation over the last 3 years (2017 - 2020).

Attending the event were representatives from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam: Mr. Brendon Brooker, Second Secretary and Mrs. Ton Nu Hue Chi, Senior Program Manager; Mr. Michael Sadlon, Aus4Skills Program Director; Ms. Dang Tuyet Anh, QUNIS Manager (a component for Capacity Building for Northern Mountainous Universities) and other program officers; 

Representatives of Son La provincial departments and agencies including the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Education and Training, the Northwest Agriculture - Forestry Research and Development Center (NOMAFSI), the Forest Science Centre of North Western Vietnam (FSCNWV); the media; representatives of local entrepreneurs, and more than 160 leaders, managers from functional departments of TBU, Aus4Skills alumni and other interested parties.

Dr Dinh Thanh Tam President of TBU delivered speech
Dr. Đinh Thanh Tâm – President of TBU delivered opening remark

In his opening remarks, Dr. Dinh Thanh Tam expressed his appreciation to the Aus4Skills Program for their contribution to the development of TBU, namely in capacity building for leaders and managers, and supporting the amendment and implementation of its strategic plan, curriculum development, quality assurance, ... These activities not only helped improve TBU capacity but also opened opportunities for international cooperation. He added that it was a cultural bridge between TBU and Australia.

At the symposium, Mr. Brendon Brooker, Second Secretary, Australian Embassy in Vietnam praised the achievements made by TBU over the last 3 years. These results not only demonstrated the efforts of the University, but is also a testimony for the effective and sustainable assistance of the Australian Government to Vietnam.

Mr Brendon Brooker Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam delivered a speech
Mr. Brendon Brooker – Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam delivered a speech

Briefing about Aus4Skills activities at TBU, MSc. Bui Thi Hoa Man, Program Coordinator reported that more than 400 turns of participants (147 lecturers and officers) took part in short-term technical courses at TBU; more than 500 turns of lecturers and officers participated in replicated seminars and training; more than 10,000 students benefited from action plan projects. In addition, Aus4Skills also helped staff members improve their foreign language skills by inviting a volunteer, Ms. Caron Menashe, to teach English to more than 60 staff members, and by coordinating with =Australian training organisation QTS to offer 70-85% online English scholarships to nearly 70 staff members.

Participants had a chance to listen to reports on key areas that TBU benefited from Aus4Skills. Regarding the component for governance, leadership and management, Dr. Dinh Thanh Tam listed that 34 leaders and key staff members received short-term training in capacity building for governance, leadership, and management; 100% of TBU leaders (including the University Council, Board of Directors, Dean, Vice Dean of Departments, Faculties, and Centers) received training via technical assistance program.

The support of Aus4Skills contributed to the improvements in TBU’s policies and practices such as: amendments of strategic plan for 2018-2025 and vision to 2030, focusing on linkage with businesses, community service and gender equality; Six strategic plans were developed, covering all aspects of TBU, in which the key areas were University autonomy and developing a supportive working environment. Dr. Tam emphasized that these supports positively impacted TBU, demonstrating unity and commitment bewteenleaders and staff member towards autonomy.

Dr Dinh Thanh Tam President of TBU delivered speech
Dr. Đinh Thanh Tâm – President of TBU delivered speech

Dr. Do Hong Duc, Head of the Training Department reported on Curriculum Development and Teaching Methodology, one of the core areas for TBU. The report showed that upon completing short courses in Australia (for 8 leaders), TBU has resolved to change its policies and practices in the following areas:

  • Amended regulations on Undergraduate training programs.
  • Amended regulations on reviewing, and supplementing end-of-course standards for Undergraduate program.
  • Revised 21 programs, developed 04 new programs.
  • Revised curriculum to strengthen their practicality, with longer interning period at enterprises.

Particularly, more attention was paid to inclusive education, especially towards ethnic minority students, female students, students with disabilities, and second-language students. The teaching format was also changed to create an open and safe platform for learners. Currently, TBU is building a strategy to apply active and inclusive teaching and learning methods in the entire University, as well as other educational institutions in Son La province. Dr. Do Hong Duc further reinstated that the effective support of Aus4Skills significantly improved the training quality of TBU.

Dr Do Hong Duc Head of Training Department presented his report
Dr. Đo Hong Đuc – Head of Training Department presented his report

MSc. Pham Minh Thong, Head of the Department of Quality Assurance and Legal Inspection presented a report on Improving Quality Assurance at TBU, in which he affirmed that the support of Aus4Skills contributed to promoting quality assurance in the following areas:

  • Awareness were raised among staff and lecturers on developing training curricula and end-of-course standards.
  • An internal quality assurance system according to AUN-QA model was established with clear structure, roles, responsibilities, and accountability:
  • 75 people were appointed to engage in Internal Quality Assurance Network. The Chancellor and heads of departments were members of this network (Decision No. 202 / QD-DHTB dated 10/03/2020);
  • An information management plan for internal quality assurance was developed and implemented to support decision-making processes (Decision No. 1409 / QD-DHTB dated 19/12/2019).
  • Essential quality assurance procedures were set up, including:
    • Regulations on obtaining feedback of students and lecturers on the curriculum (Decision No. 1406 / QD-DHTB dated 19/12/2019);
    • Regulations on obtaining feedback of students about lecturers’ performance (Decision No. 1407 / QD-DHTB dated 19/12/2019);
    • Regulations on obtaining feedback of alumni on their employment and plan for further education (Decision No. 1408 / QD-DHTB dated 19/12/2019);
    • Regulations on obtaining feedback of lecturers and students on the quality of support services from departments and centers under TBU (Decision No. 756 / QD-DHTB dated 26/8/2020 );
  • A Quality Assurance Handbook was made available, containing essential information about ensuring internal quality.
  • The role of Internal Quality Assurance was recognized and supported by TBU leaders. It was welcome by staff, lecturers, and students.
  • The quality-centric culture in TBU was formed, focusing on Plan-Do-Check-Act (P-D-C-A) procedures.

MSs Pham Minh Thong Head of the Dept of Quality Assurance and Legal Inspection presented a report
MSs. Phạm Minh Thông, Head of the Dept of Quality Assurance and Legal Inspection presented a report.

Participants also listened to the report about Gender Equality by MSc. Deo Thi Thuy, lecturer of the Faculty of General Education, an Aus4Skills alumni from the course “Women in Leadership Journey”. The report pointed out changes at TBU regarding gender equality:

  • 30% of the members of the Party Committee were women; Gender equality was incorporated in the Resolution of the Party Congress (2020);
  • 40% of the Heads of Departments under TBU were female.
  • Project activities to promote gender equality were recognized and supported by TBU leaders.
  • Gender issues were incorporated into the curriculum.
  • Resource for gender equality was secured: staff were nominated to attend the Women in Leadership Journey course and other training courses.

A panel discussion took place in an open atmosphere. There were lots of questions and ideas about how to ensure the sustainability of the Program, how to effectively maintain and enhance the achievements in Aus4Skills-supported areas. In response, TBU leaders openly elaborated and shared their ambition and policies with participants. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian experts who have worked with TBU were not able to attend in person. A pre-recorded thank you message from them were delivered to TBU leaders and staff members.

Participants at the discussion
Participants at the discussion

Speaking at the symposium, Mr. Michael Sadlon, the Program Director of Aus4Skills expressed his appreciation to TBU’sefforts in successfullyachieving the goals of the cooperation program. He also affirmed that the large number of alumni at TBU would be an important bridge for TBU to call for more financial and professional support. It may be the end of the cooperation program but the Australian Government support to Vietnam will continue. Hence, TBU should maximize their capabilities to secure funding and ensure the sustainability of the Program.

Mr Micheal Sadlon Program Director of Aus4Skills delivered a speech
Mr. Micheal Sadlon, Program Director of Aus4Skills delivered a speech

Concluding the symposium, Dr. Doan Duc Lan, President of TBU Council thanked the Australian Government, the Australian Embassy, the Aus4Skills Program and Australian experts for effectively coordinate with TBU in carrying out activities in governance, leadership, management, quality assurance, curriculum renewal and teaching methodology, supporting vulnerable students, gender equality, developing linkage with Australian universities and improving English proficiency for TBU staff members.

Dr. Doan Duc Lan also thanked the Ministry of Education and Training and Northwestern provinces. He envisaged that the cooperation would continue to thrive, to enable TBU to better perform its mission in HR training, science and technology education, and community development. He commented that the symposium marked the beginning of a new journey. On behalf of TBU, he expressed his thanks to the efforts of the University's staff members who over the past 3 years, have contributed to the success of the Program, especially members of the Aus4Skills Coordination Team at TBU.

Dr Doan Duc Lan President of TBU Council concluded the symposium
Dr. Đoàn Đức Lân – President of TBU Council concluded the symposium.

Also present at the symposium were booths displaying the achievements of the program. The exhibition was divided into three main areas: Governance, leadership and quality assurance; Curriculum renewal and teaching methodology; Gender equality.

It can be said that the Aus4Skills Cooperation Program has made practical contribution to the capacity building of TBU, opening up opportunities for more international cooperation in the future.

Symposium in perspective
Symposium in perspective

Exhibition area
Exhibition area

Participants visiting the exhibition area
Participants visiting the exhibition area

Participants visiting the exhibition area 3
Participants visiting the exhibition area

Participants visiting the exhibition area 2
Participants visiting the exhibition area

Participants visiting the exhibition area Inclusive teaching and learning
Participants visiting the exhibition area: Inclusive teaching and learning

Aus4Skills Program officers with representatives of TBU
Aus4Skills Program officers with representatives of TBU

Art performance at the symposium
Art performance at the symposium

Source: Tay Bac University website

 

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