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Vietnam strengthens ties across Europe with Ireland deal

A €578,000 cooperative arrangement between Vietnam and Ireland was key among the outcomes of education discussions between Asian and European countries, on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Ministers Education Meeting last month.

Ireland's Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton with Vietnam's deputy PM Pham Binh Minh Photo: VGPIreland's Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton with Vietnam's deputy PM Pham Binh Minh Photo: VGP

"In many respects, Ireland's economy is a great role model for Vietnam"

The arrangement, signed by Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh and Ireland’s minister for education and skills Richard Bruton, sees the Vietnam Ireland Bilateral Education Exchange formalised after a successful pilot period in 2015/16.

“I am looking forward to increasing opportunities for Irish students to travel to Vietnam”

Supporting ten partnerships between the two countries’ higher education providers, the agreement will see further exchange opportunities between students and academic staff between the two countries.

The agreement replaces Irish Aid which came to an end in 2015.

Speaking with The PIE News, Capstone Vietnam managing director Mark Ashwill said the arrangement would have a significant impact on the quality of Vietnam’s education system and would have a flow-on effect for its economy.

“Building these bilateral relationships, we can ensure mutual benefit for both the institutions and student”

“Irish institutions of higher education are strong in technology and applied research, for which there is a great need in Vietnam as its economy continues to develop and diversify,” he said.

“In many respects, Ireland’s economy is a great role model for Vietnam. The Vietnamese government knows that it has to upgrade the quality of its postsecondary education system, including academic and vocational, if the country is to escape the so-called middle-income trap.”

While beneficial to Vietnam, Ashwill also said there were logical benefits for Ireland.

“Both the Irish government and higher education colleagues… are keen on recruiting more Vietnamese students,” he said, adding that while there were ambitions to grow Vietnamese cohorts, market understanding of the country as a study destination was low.

“There is a lot of untapped potential if they are able to pursue an effective, long-term recruitment strategy. Unlike other countries, in which nativism and an anti-immigration climate are currently the order of the day, there are excellent post-graduation employment opportunities in Ireland in certain fields, which is attractive to a lot of Vietnamese students.”

Formalisation of the arrangement sees a successful conclusion to the ASEM meetings in Myanmar for both countries, with Ireland earlier showing its intent to also conclude arrangements with South Korea.

“I am looking forward to increasing opportunities for Irish students to travel to Vietnamese and South Korean higher level institutions, by strengthening and building partnerships with institutions in these countries,” Bruton told reports before he departed for the summit.

“There is a lot of untapped potential if they are able to pursue an effective, long-term recruitment strategy”

“Building these bilateral relationships, we can ensure mutual benefit for both the institutions and students.”

Meanwhile, Vietnamese and Norwegian officials also met to resume discussions around continued support of Vietnam’s sustainable development goals, especially around education and training.

Asian Pacific countries have recently ramped up their efforts to establish bilateral and multilateral education agreements with advanced destinations, with the Philippines recently signing deals with Russia and New Zealand.

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