Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a weeklong training organized in Hanoi by the National Institute of Education Management (NIEM), a unit of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET). I spoke to a total of 120 Vietnamese higher education leaders about accreditation and quality assurance from a US perspective, as well as learner protection from the vantage point of students in both countries. The latter is a very timely topic in Vietnam and one in which I have considerable interest. As I mentioned to one group, US colleges and universities offer some of the best (accredited) and some of the worst (unaccredited) higher education in the world. The unaccredited variety, the result of a federalist system of 50 states with different laws, rules and regulations and the absence of a relevant national policy, is mostly for export.
The other topics covered by a team of foreign and Vietnamese lecturers included:
- Higher education in the new context;
- Higher education leaders as effective leading change agents and how to plan for and initiate strategic planning for change;
- Autonomy and accountability and the issue of equity;
- Curriculum development to meet the needs of learners and society;
- Staff development for HE institutions;
- Economics and finance for HE institutions;
- University/industry cooperation in the area of scientific research; and
- International partnerships and how they can help to develop Vietnamese HE institutions.
Most of the participants left early this week for study tours in Europe and the US. The US tours include visits to state and private, non-profit universities in California, New York, Pennsylvania, as well as a community college in northern Virginia. These trips give participants the opportunity to learn more about the above topics in a real world context and explore possibilities for cooperation with US colleagues. It’s also a chance to network with colleagues from throughout Vietnam.