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ERIC Number: EJ771028
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun-29
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Vietnamese Leaders Discuss Overhaul of Higher Education During U.S. Visit
Wasley, Paula
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n43 pA41 Jun 2007
At a June 2007 forum, Vietnam's president and minister of education outlined an ambitious plan to overhaul their country's troubled educational system, while a panel of American academics and scientists highlighted the importance of higher education to Vietnam's rapidly growing economy and suggested potential models for reform. Two decades after opening up to a free-market economy, Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, yet its universities lag behind those of other developing countries. Only 10 percent of Vietnam's college-age population attends its universities, and its professoriate, most of whose members were trained in Russia or other countries in the former Eastern Bloc, is aging. The country produces 500 new Ph.D. recipients a year, said Mr. Nhan, who hopes by 2020, to bring the country's number of Ph.D.'s to 20,000, half of whom would be trained outside Vietnam. The minister said he anticipated that 2,500 of those new Ph.D.'s would be educated in the United States and would form a core group of faculty members who would lead the country's efforts to create a tiered system of national higher education. At its pinnacle would be a new science-and-technology research university in Hanoi that Mr. Nhan said he hoped would open in 2008. A panel discussion that preceded Mr. Nhan's and President Triet's comments discussed some of the challenges such a plan would involve, including: (1) the importance of creating a merit-based organizational structure that would funnel talent upward within a hierarchical system of research universities developed organically as the outgrowth of social change in Vietnam; (2) the current shortfall of trained workers needed to satisfy the demand created by the country's rapid economic growth; (3) the need to maintain strong relationships with institutions elsewhere, offering salaries that would attract faculty members with international training and (4) the need for institutional autonomy and accountability. Bob Kerrey, president of the New School and a Vietnam War veteran, noted that strong universities sometimes find themselves at odds with their governments. "If you're going to have universities that are top tier," Mr. Kerrey said, "you have to permit critical thinking and dissent."
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vietnam