Briefing evaluation mission by cbtms2B9


									                                      Vietnam Strategy summary status report


    On behalf of the Flemish Higher Education (HE) institutes, VLIR-UOS manages a government funded
    programme directed at partnerships in the context of university cooperation for development. Currently, VLIR-
    UOS is in the process of formulating strategies for 20 partner countries. Country strategies are policy
    documents that will guide funding decisions of VLIR-UOS and allow for strategic impact based on programme
    coherence and contextual relevance. The Vietnam country strategy will be finalised by the end of 2011 and
    serve as a reference for a 2012 call for proposals and with it a 2013-2018 strategic programme.

    VLIR-UOS funds partnerships of willing academics (Flemish academics offer their time on a voluntary basis) on
    themes that are developmentally relevant and result from a shared interest. Interventions may be in the form
    of scholarships are projects at institutional or sub-institutional level. Capacity development aimed at furthering
    the ability of HE institutions to serve as actors in development, is at the centre of the VLIR-UOS programme.

    In the past months, the Flemish areas of interest in working with Vietnam have been captured (supply side).
    The planned identification mission, is meant to identify the needs (demand side) and identify (thematic,
    regional, institutional) the space and opportunities for both to match. Need identification will be done through
    visits to pre-selected HE institutions, authorities and other stakeholders. In addition, the hosting of a local
    seminar will allow for further inputs and discussions.

             STRATEGIC NICHE
                  FOR                                  SUPPLY


    2.   DESK STUDY

    The preparatory work consisted of a survey of Northern and Southern institutions and a desk study of various
    Vietnamese and international (policy) documents. Among other, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET)
    and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) were contacted, as also a number of Vietnamese partner
    institutions. Contact was also made with the BTC and DGD representatives in Hanoi. In addition, VLIR-UOS could
    draw on the findings obtained during the Belgian Universities’ Rectors mission to Vietnam (10-16 April 2011) on
    the occasion of which various a memorandum of understanding was drafted between some key Belgian and
    Vietnamese universities.

    All this information collected, including the results of a survey among academic stakeholders in Flanders
    resulted in a draft Vietnam Strategy Concept Note, including thematic/geographical overviews of present VLIR-
    UOS cooperation as compared to national and HE priorities. This document, as well as further information on
    the preparatory work can be found on the Vietnam webpage (see below).


    On 28 September 2011 some 65 participants from different Flemish HE institutes and other institutional
    stakeholders attended a Vietnam Country seminar in Brussels. The seminar had four main sessions:
    introductions and presentations, thematic group discussions, plenary discussions and wrap-up and way


    Presentations were given by the Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Vietnam to Belgium on the role of HE
    institutes in the national development of Vietnam. This was followed by a presentation by the DGD Desk
    Officer for Vietnam on the new bilateral Indicative Cooperation Programme between Vietnam and Belgium for
    the period 2011-2015 and which highlights the areas of water and sanitation and good governance as focal
    sectors and gender and climate change as cross-cutting issues. Finally, the VVOB representative presented the
    highlights of the cooperation programme in 5 provinces in North and central Vietnam.

    During the Q&A sessions the following main conclusions were drawn:
     It is important to identify common interests within the broader framework of the socio-economic
        development and higher education needs of the partner country in a win-win situation for both North and
        South parties as basis for the VLIR-UOS new country programmes;
     The respective socio-economic development plans of Vietnam (central and regional) emphasize education
        and knowledge as key to empowered and sustainable development and the fight against poverty;
     The VLIR-UOS country programme is invited to contribute to the attainment of the development and
        higher education goals of the country as operationalized in key indicators with targets (e.g. the Higher
        Education Reform Agenda);
     The Vietnam Higher Education system still faces substantive challenges in terms of reform to enhance its
        overall performance. In this reform process, the Flemish / Belgian partnership is of special importance;
     The traditional university cooperation often is donor driven but this now is reversed with the new VLIR-
        UOS country strategy programme. The challenge at Vietnamese side is to also proactively scout abroad,
        and particularly in Flanders/Belgium, for partnerships and networking opportunities.


    During the group discussions the participants were asked to report on their experiences in working with
    Vietnam and to point out general needs to be addressed in university development cooperation programmes,
    potential partnerships with Vietnamese HE institutes and modalities for future cooperation.

    Part of the discussions dealt with generic needs and opportunities for transversal support issues in the domains
    of English language, distance and lifelong learning and e-education. In terms of content, the presented
    strategic framework of VLIR-UOS expertise in Vietnam on the basis of current findings was largely endorsed. A
    variety of broad overarching multidisciplinary themes are covered in the Flemish cooperation with Vietnam,
    but it is clear that Flanders could offer expertise that would seem to match the developmental needs of
    Vietnam. A number of themes were put forward during the discussions, as there are: food security and
    nutrition, health (including rural development, primary health care), environment and natural resources (incl.
    forestry, GIS, geography, water and sanitation, aquaculture), social sciences, science and technology.

    In terms of intervention strategy, it was stated that a country strategy for Vietnam should include a wide
    portfolio with a mix of interventions going from national theme-based initiatives, opportunities for classical
    departmental/thematic initiatives and potential for institutional university cooperation with a limited number
    of partners should also be investigated. Within this context the importance of involving Flemish university
    colleges was raised since they have more practical expertise to offer and as such do sign in in the third pillar of
    higher education: service to society. The importance of vocational and entrepreneurial lifelong learning needs
    to be stressed in the context of higher education cooperation.

    The list of South/North partner institutions with sufficient cooperation potential was also discussed during the
    group sessions and were largely endorsed by the groups. The programme for the identification mission will
    need some further elaboration, but given the vastness of the country it is clear that a visit to the South, Centre
    and North of Vietnam is strongly advised. However, the Centre of the country is identified as the area that
    could take a maximum profit out of university development cooperation with Flemish institutions of higher


        The excellent relations in higher education built up over the years between Flanders (Belgium) and
         Vietnam provide for a solid basis of mutual trust for the preparation, design and operationalization of a
         VLIR-UOS Vietnam country strategy and programme;
        The Vietnam poverty alleviation, socio-economic development and higher education policies and strategies
         constitute the broader framework for the VLIR-UOS country strategy with Vietnam, covering both public
         and private higher education and other institutions;
        Innovative links between research and services to society (general population, local governments, private
         sector, etc.) needing to be explored further as a matter of priority;
        The four broad thematic areas identified as a result of the VN strategy development process so far, are
         endorsed as the main pillars of the VLIR-UOS country strategy to be explored further, namely: (1)
         Food/nutrition and health; (2) Environment and natural resources; (3) Science and technology, and; (4)
         Transversal, cross-cutting issues as governance, gender, strategy development and operationalization,
         institutional strengthening, results management, etc.;
        The strategy needs to make use of a balanced composition of VLIR-IUC cooperation modality tools with
         further exploration and operationalization of the novel cooperation tool of thematic institutional
        Programme interaction with other key players (DGD, BTC, CUD, FWO, VVOB, etc.) is essential to ensure
         that capacity is built efficiently;
        The distinguished Vietnamese universities visited by the Rectors of the Flemish Universities in Spring this
         year should be given special consideration for the final selection of network hubs for thematic institutional
         networks and/or a possible new IUC.


    As part of the participatory development process of the VLIR-UOS Country Strategy with Vietnam, a series of
    interviews with Flemish Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and other Flemish/Belgian stakeholders took place in
    the period from 29 August to 26 September 2011. Out of 89 representatives of universities and stakeholders
    approached, 27 were actually interviewed, the majority representing Flemish HE institutions. On the whole, the
    following 6 broad and inter-disciplinary subject areas surfaced: (1) (Rural) livelihood (2) Health, (3) Environment
    (4) Natural Resources, (5) Infrastructure (6) Sciences and Technologies. A 7 area included transversal and
    cross-cutting themes. As there are clear synergies between livelihood and health; environment and natural
    resources and infrastructure and sciences and technologies, this classification was reduced to four thematic

    From the 29 responding HEI representatives 39% indicated “(Rural) Livelihood and Health” as their main VLIR
    Thematic Area and another 39% “Environment and Natural Resources”. The third category of “Infrastructure
    (roads, ICT, etc.) and related Sciences and Technologies” was identified by 22% of the total as their main VLIR
    Thematic Area. The rest category “Transversal and cross-cutting” was selected by a still relatively high number
    of interviewees (34%) as their main thematic area.


        Food/nutrition and Health mainly covers veterinary services, molecular epidemiology, health economics,
         food technology and biotechnology. Within this area a concept note on rural health (full title: Integrated
         Primary Health Care in the Rural Areas of the Mekong Region). Another note was received on Bioscience

         for Food (full title: Multidisciplinary Support for Research based education in food and environmental
         sciences in Vietnam).
        The second thematic area, Environment and natural resources, mainly focuses on aquaculture, waste
         management, marine biology, natural heritage and water treatment technology.
        On infrastructure and related sciences and technology the focus goes mainly to mechanical engineering,
         textile engineering, chemistry, ICT (hardware, software and information networks) and crop protection.
        Cross-cutting themes: a fourth thematic area encompasses higher professional education and training,
         internships, scientific English, gender and institutional strengthening.


    In the context of the VLIR-UOS country strategies with partner countries, and in particular in Vietnam, teaming
    up or integrating in a network around a thematic area seems to be a new opportunity for cooperation. This
    might require a novel VLIR-UOS instrument especially designed for facilitating such thematic networking in
    both Flanders and in the partner country, in this case Vietnam, or by extension in the region (in this case the
    Mekong Region, South-East Asia, and more particularly Laos and Cambodia).

    Such thematic institutional network or Network IUC is an advanced form of a classical IUC in as much as the
    components of the programme in the partner country are no longer projects or departments within one
    partner institution, but departments from various partner (network) universities. The trusted (IUC) core
    university becomes the hub of the partner network and the HE institutions networked with it are the nodes of
    the network South Hub. The improved networking not only concerns North-South networking, but also South-


    Whereas none of the interviewees expressed exclusive preferences for one or another university partner in
    Vietnam, most of them had already prior working relations with one or more partner HE institutes in Vietnam.
    This particularly pertains to the IUC partner universities of Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST –
    North Vietnam) and Can Tho University (CTU – South Vietnam) in the Mekong Delta. But also other Universities
    as for example the Hue University (Hue - Middle Vietnam), the Vietnam National University in HCMC (Ho Chi
    Minh City – South Vietnam) and the Vietnamese Academy for Science and Technology (VAST - North Vietnam),
    were indicated as priority partners by different respondents.

    Generally, an openness if not a pro-active engagement and pursuit was sensed with all interviewees towards
    broadening the institutional partners network in Vietnam, and beyond (Mekong Delta Region, particularly Laos
    and Cambodia). This network broadening also covers the non-university higher education institutes (e.g. in
    relation to vocational education and training, extension services) and also governmental and private research
    institutes. For the institutional cooperation also the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) was referred to.


    The four broad thematic areas identified as a result of the VN strategy development process so far, are
    endorsed as the main pillars of the VLIR-UOS country strategy to be explored further. Also potential partner HE
    institutes have been identified as well as possible modalities of university cooperation for development.

    The following are issues that the identification mission is expected to clarify:
    1. Whereas the proposed partnership mainly include applied sciences, it should be useful to measure the
        support for including the social sciences in future cooperation programmes.
    2. The interest and feasibility of Vietnamese HE institutions to sign in into a network of priority institutional
        partners around one of the potential thematic areas and in first instance the hub university for this or
        these networks;
    3. The manner in which VLIR-UOS could complement its strategy with interventions of DGD, BTC, CUD,
        VVOB/APEFE, FWO/FNRS, WBI and other international donors active in Vietnam.


    The identification mission to Vietnam is scheduled from 7 till 18 November 2011, with the local seminar taking
    place on 17 November 2011 in Hanoi. In order to reach a maximum of Vietnamese HE institutions, 2
    consultative meetings will be held in Central and Southern Vietnam respectively in Hue and HCMC.

    During the mission, the following HE institutions and Research Centres will be visited:
        1. Hue University
        2. Can Tho University
        3. University of Pedagogy
        4. Hanoi University of Science and Technology
        5. Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology
        6. National Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities

    The following HE institutions and Research Centres will be contacted in preparation and during the mission.
    They will also be invited for the local seminar and consultative meetings:
        7. Danang University
        8. Institute of Tropical Biology
        9. Nong Lam University
        10. Nha Trang University
        11. University of Hygiene and Epidemiology
        12. Hanoi University of Education
        13. Vietnamese Institute for Architecture
        14. Hanoi University of Transport and Communication
        15. Hanoi National Economics University
        16. Vietnam Commercial University
        17. Textile Research Institute of Hanoi
        18. Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment

    Also, contact will be made with selected line ministries who will also be invited at the seminar:
        1. Ministry of Education and Training
        2. Ministry of Science and Technology

    The following international institutions will be visited/contacted/invited at the seminar:
        3. BTC
        4. DGD
        5. WBI
        6. APEFE
        7. VVOB


    All relevant background information on the Vietnam strategy formulation process can be obtained from

    The Vietnam team composition and contacts are:

                       Position                               Name                            Contact
                 International expert                    Mr. Ruddi Vaes    
                     Local expert                    Mr. Nguyen Van Thang
               VLIR-UOS Board member                 Prof. Patrick Sorgeloos
         VLIR-UOS South Coordinator and Desk
                                                    Mr. Christophe Goossens
                  officer for Vietnam


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