Vietnam is an attractive destination for Australian students


Ambassador Craig Chittick with alumni
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Craig Chittick discusses start-up products with an Australia Awards alumni

Education and Times Newspaper – This is an assessment by Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Craig Chittick while explaining about Australian Government’s upcoming projects and plans in Vietnam.

Education & Times Newspaper had an interview with H.E. Mr. Craig Chittick, learning about Australian Government’s involvements in Vietnam in 2018, especially in the education sector. 

Vietnam – an important partner for Australia in the education sector

* Dear Mr. Craig Chittick, recently, the Australian Embassy in Vietnam has conducted many activities in the field of education, specifically higher education, such as holding a workshop on University Rankings and Governance. Would you please explain why higher education is one of the priorities of Australia’s support to Vietnam?

- Australia and Vietnam have been sharing a history of education cooperation. For several decades, Vietnamese students and researchers have undertaken overseas study and work experiences that have established strong and long-term connections between the two countries. 

Currently, Australia and Vietnam are promoting student mobility and research collaboration activities. It is little wonder that education has formed a key pillar in what is now one of Australia’s most important economic and diplomatic cooperation relationships in the Asia Pacific region, especially with Vietnam. 

We plan on delivering additional workshops under the scope of Australian Speakers and Partners in Research Education and Skills (ASPIRES) Program in 2018 with a focus on topics and interests to Vietnam. The workshop on University Rankings and Governance held in Hanoi in October 2017 is a part of this program.

* In your opinion, how can Australia share its good practices in higher education governance with Vietnam?

Vietnam is an important partner for Australia in the education sector. Education and research are not only foundations for our diplomatic relations but also forces for creativity, innovation, and trade linkages between the two countries. 

The bilateral relation between Australia and Vietnam in the field of education is under strong development. Government-to-government engagement and cooperation has deepened and diversified the education relationship over recent years, particularly in promoting two-way student and teacher mobility, sharing Australian expertise in quality assurance, enhancing Vietnam's capacity in vocational training. 

Improving the quality of universities in the northwestern region is a key component of the Australian Government’s Aus4Skills program. This component aims for increasing quality and quantity in education and research activities, as well as capacity development for universities in the northern mountainous region. 

Aus4Skills activities focus on strengthening the leadership and management, reforming curriculum and teaching methodology, enhancing academic support for ethnic minority students, and empowering women’s leadership at three universities: Tay Bac University, Thai Nguyen University and Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry.

Ambassador Craig Chittick

Australia Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Craig Chittick

By the end of 2018, approximately 1,500 Australian students will have come to Vietnam. 

* There is a considerable number of Vietnamese students going to Australia for study. Are there programs which encourage Australian students to come to Vietnam, sir? 

- In September 2017, the Australian Embassy in Vietnam welcomed students from 18 Australian universities for study and internship, under the scope of the New Colombo Plan - a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific among Australian people by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in other countries in this region. 

By the end of 2018, Vietnam will have received more than 1,500 New Colombo Plan students which makes Vietnam the sixth most popular destination in the list of 40 countries that have been receiving New Colombo Plan students. 

This program is expected to bring significant changes by not only deepening Australia – Vietnam relations at personal level but also strengthening collaboration and connection among universities and corporations. 

Fourteen Vietnamese universities will host New Colombo Plan students, including: Thai Nguyen University, Hanoi Medical University, Danang University, and Can Tho University, etc. 

* Recently, the Australian Embassy announced that it will provide over AUD 488,000 (over 8 billion VND) in grants for Australian alumni through the Alumni Small Grants Fund. Would you please share with us the purpose of this support?

- The Australian Government is committed to supporting alumni when they return to Vietnam, helping them to apply knowledge and skills obtained in Australia in their workplace, contributing to their community and the social-economic development of Vietnam. 

The Small Grants Fund goes a long way to enable alumni to translate their innovative ideas into practice, and to strengthen the links between our two countries. The 52 projects being funded in 2017 address issues in education, rural development, food security, environment, gender equality, governance, disability, and economic growth.

The Fund also supports alumni to apply specialized knowledge and skills into research, conducting workshops and training courses, improving systems and processes in their workplace. 

Some alumni who received grants and delivered their ideas, projects with fruitful outcomes, including: Strategy development for improving governance and management at the National Economics University; A business course for 30 women and women with disabilities in Thai Binh Province; an online platform to help students grasp employment markets’ needs and support their education and career choices; an update of the book “54 Ethnic Minorities: WHY Different” - a key resource on ethnic minorities in Vietnam.

* 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam. Would you please share with us some important activities by the Australian Embassy in Vietnam in the field of education?

The Australia in Vietnam Education and Training Advisory Group has recently been established by the new Education Counsellor of the Embassy. The Australia in Vietnam Education and Training Advisory Group will help to provide strategic direction and leadership for a unified approach on education and training activity in Vietnam. 

Through an agreed and coordinated approach involving government, industries and institutions, we aspire to strengthen Australia’s education and training relationship with Vietnam and maximise opportunities for learning and sharing for the current and future generations.

Another initiative is the ASPIRES program (Australian Speakers & Partners In Research, Education & Skills) which allows the visiting Australian education and training experts and academics to speak at public events in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

In addition, research exchange between Vietnam and Australia will continue to be strengthened and further developed. We also focus more on Vocational Education and Training, such as promoting the International Skills Training Courses for Trainers and Assessors, and promoting industry linkages with vocational education training in logistics as a pilot activity, which can be applied to other sectors in Vietnam in the future. 

Thank you for taking the time for the interview.

Source: Translation of an article on Education and Times Newspaper

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