UWE at forefront of UK Education links with Vietnam

Issue date: 26 May 2010

Khue Van Cac, Hanoi, Vietnam

The University of the West of England looks set to become a major player in provision of Higher Education awards in Vietnam. The ground has been prepared by UWE's leaders over the last six years and already some of Vietnam's top Universities have signed up to validated courses in law, economics and biosensing technology.

One of just 18 UK Universities delivering academic programmes in Vietnam, UWE was one of the first to enter into dialogue with the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Justice in Vietnam. These early discussions are beginning to bear fruit.

The newly established partnerships are wide ranging and involve the collaborative delivery of UWE degrees in Vietnam, the creation of progression and exchange opportunities for Vietnamese and UK students, collaborative research projects and joint staff development.

Over 80 Vietnamese students are now studying UWE led programmes but recent developments suggest that provision will expand hugely over the next decade with trans national offerings likely to attract 1,000's of Vietnamese students seeking to gain validated qualifications in Economics, Law and Biotechnology.

In Vietnam UWE is perceived as a 'University of the Future' with strengths in economic and legal provision that are key to helping Vietnam grow expertise to enable participation in the global market. Delivery of programmes such as international trade law is critical to this emerging economy as it begins to become a significant force in global markets.

Since deciding to treat the development of academic links with Vietnam in 2004 as a high priority UWE has forged strong partnerships with the National Economics University, Hanoi, the University of Danang, HCMC Law University, Hanoi Law University, Cantho University and the Vietnam National University.

UWE's leaders recognised early on that the large regional universities in Vietnam had significant similarities both as providers of Higher Education courses and in ambitions to grow international links through partnerships and research collaborations. Vietnam is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world with strong ambitions and a need to build expertise in international trade and this is where UWE has stepped in.

Key leaders from UWE's executive team have been instrumental in establishing links and developing the Vietnamese partnerships and these include Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve West; Professor Alan Bensted, Warwick Jones, Professor Geoffrey Channon and Professor James Holland who are all on UWE's senior executive team and Jo Midgley, Director of Admissions and International Recruitment.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Bensted, with the support of the Admissions and International Development team, identified Vietnam as a country which offered unique collaborative opportunities in Higher Education. He developed the initial country strategy, focusing on the top national and regional universities in the key regional centres.

Professor Alan Bensted, explains, “We already had strong links in Asia, particularly in Malaysia and whilst the many UK Universities had eyes turned towards China we decided to refocus and explore the potential to develop links in Vietnam. We researched opportunities with the British Council to ensure that our ambitions to forge links in this area were realistic and workable. The British Council was also invaluable in suggesting partner universities and introducing us to the Ministry for Education and Training and the Ministry for Justice in Vietnam.

“When working towards international collaborations it is vital that we ensure that we talk to the right people from the outset and the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry for Justice were extremely helpful in introducing us to our partners, Danang University on the South China coast and the National Economics University in Hanoi."

Steve West,Vice-Chancellor elaborates on UWE's international rationale, “At UWE an international partnership is not just about financial contracts to deliver education, although this is key. We see our relationship with Vietnam as a chance to collaborate in research projects and as a way of enriching the student experience for students in both countries.

“Part of UWE's mission is to ensure that all students have an international experience and we can see that these partnerships will eventually lead to opportunities for students in both countries to spend time studying overseas and to gain experiential enrichment before they graduate.

“In developing partnerships of this sort it is important to be able to respond to the needs of the partner universities and as a comprehensive university we have been able to provide high quality programmes in a wide range of subjects in Law and Business and biotechnology.”

UWE has agreed to provide a range of programmes that will be delivered in English in Vietnam, giving local students the chance to work towards much sought after UK validated degrees. These include the LLM in three distinct areas, International Economic Law; International Trade Law and International Law. In addition, students will also be able to study for undergraduate degrees in Business Studies, Banking and Finance, Business Studies and Tourism.

Key partnerships include

•Ho Chi Min City Law University – collaborative Masters programme

•Hanoi Law University - collaborative Masters Programmes and a proposed further collaboration for an LLB Common Law Programme. This follows on from a recent successful joint UWE-Hanoi bid for a 200,000 Euro EU research grant.

•Cantho University - collaborative LLM and undergraduate Business provision.

•The Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Min City - undergraduate partnered programmes in Business, I.T and Biotechnology/Biosciences.

•Danang University situated on the South China Sea coast. Danang University is similar to UWE; it is a large regional institution with a comprehensive subject remit. Vietnam has distinct types of provision dividing Universities into large comprehensive regional institutions and single subject area specialist Universities.

•National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi. This subject specialist university serves 50,000 students. UWE will deliver three awards in Economics, Business Studies and Accounting and Finance.

Steve West, concludes, “The relationship with Vietnam is fundamental to our bid to offer our students an international experience and to share our excellent degree courses widely. Watch this space – we believe that UWE will be a very significant player in provision of validated programmes in Vietnam and we look forward to growing and maintain strong links with our partner universities in the country.”

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