Here’s an abridged version of a recent interview I did with Vietcetera, a “consortium of artists, writers, designers, photographers, musicians, technologists, and business people dedicated to a fresh look at an evolving Vietnam. Vietcetera seeks to find the untold human stories of the people that are contributing to a new, modern Vietnam. From design to business to architecture to film. We want to both give a new and youthful take on Vietnam that both local and foreigners can appreciate.”
World Education Services has long advocated Vietnam as a viable recruitment market for institutions in North America. Understanding these students’ culture and family backgrounds, as well as the contextual factors that can ‘push’ them from Vietnam and ‘pull’ them toward institutions in other countries, can go a long way toward helping institutions develop an actionable plan for reaching out to and them.
This is a good analysis by WENR with a couple of exceptions:
The United States is, depending on who is reporting, either the number one, two or three destination for outbound students from Vietnam.
There is no doubt about the ranking, if you look at the latest figures from the US and Japanese governments. Japan is the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students, broadly defined, as the article notes, followed by the US. Every time I check the SEVIS figures, based on the latest quarterly update, I also check the latest stats from the Australian government, since the two countries are usually pretty close in Vietnamese enrollment.
A more immediately relevant event is the recent move by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training to deregulate Vietnamese education agents.
This “deregulation” occurred in the summer of 2016. A new plan has since been approved that is similar to, but different from, the old one. The two main provisions of Decree No. 46/2017/ND-CP, recently issued by the Vietnamese government, are that they are no longer required to deposit 500 million VND (approximately $22,000 at the current exchange rate) and, once again, advisers will be required to take a course and be certified by the education authorities.
It was another rewarding and enjoyable NAFSA annual conference with nearly 10,000 attendees. My week was filled with meetings with colleagues from the US and many other countries that have targeted Viet Nam as a priority country. While most are interested in recruiting (more) Vietnamese students, some have other project ideas.
Riding the Wave
I kicked off conference week with a Viet Nam student recruitment seminar entitled Riding the Wave. I first organized this free, unofficial, pre-conference seminar last year in Denver because there were no Viet Nam-related workshops or general sessions offered.
The title is reference to current societal and market conditions, i.e., the interest in overseas study among Vietnamese parents and students that is the result of several factors, including the young median age of the population (30.1), rapid economic development and the concomitant growing ability to pay, and the substandard quality of much of the domestic higher education system, among other reasons.
The wave will break at some point due to demographic factors, improvements in the quality of Vietnamese higher education, and trends that are difficult to predict for those of us who don’t have a crystal ball.
I was joined by Phúc (Théodore) Phan, Co-Founder and Instructional Designer, College Scout (CS), who talked about the exciting and cutting-edge work that CS, a Hanoi-based ed-tech startup, is doing to help prepare students for success.
I wrapped up a very busy week by chairing a general session about how to recruit students in Viet Nam without using an education agent. (Ideally, institutions do both in highly competitive markets like Viet Nam.)
This session was well-attended in spite of the fact that it was scheduled in the last time slot on the final day of the conference. Many more would have attended had they not been on their way home. My only wish is that we had had more time.
NOTE: If you’re interested in obtaining a PDF copy of our presentation, you can download it from the conference site or app until mid-August (must be logged in), or contact me.
Finally, thanks to my distinguished colleagues, Diana Sampson (Shoreline Community College, WA) and Stephanie Sieggreen (Western Kentucky University) for their outstanding contributions. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with both of them.