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On 7 December 2016, Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) bestowed awards on Siep Littooij (Saxion) and Koen Yap (NUFFIC) in recognition of their services to higher education in Vietnam.
For the past 10 years, Vietnam has strengthened and expanded its higher education offer with the aid of Dutch government grants within the framework of the Strengthening Profession Oriented Higher Education (POHE) project. Saxion was involved in this project as lead partner in a consortium with VHL University of Applied Sciences, VU Amsterdam and MDF Training & Consultancy. The project saw lecturers and staff transfer their Dutch expertise and experience.
As part of the POHE project, 8 universities collaborated with more than 550 businesses to enshrine the education of young professionals in their teaching, for example through internships. With the aid of Dutch expertise, Vietnamese lecturers and education officials worked hard to establish more competence-based teaching practices, such as those that are common in higher education in the Netherlands.
This has resulted in demonstrably improved opportunities in the Vietnamese labour market for graduates from the 50-odd overhauled higher education programmes. Research has shown that in 2014 and 2015, an average of 88.7% of graduates from POHE education programmes found their first job within 6 months of graduating. These graduates are distinguished by their added value for the business community due to their practical skills.
As part of the project, many seminars have been organised and a large number of lecturers have been trained as subject matter experts and educational reform ambassadors throughout Vietnam. A growing number of universities has joined this reform effort. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training supported the earliest experiments and helped evaluate them in order for them be rolled out on a national scale.
Both Koen and Siep praised the project’s inspirational teamwork and went on record as stating that the results were thanks not only to the smooth co-operation with the Ministry and the 8 universities, but principally to the efforts of all the involved lecturers from both the Netherlands and Vietnam.