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The fifth Taiwan-Vietnam Education Forum opens new prospects for Taiwan-Vietnam Educational Cooperation

The fifth Taiwan–Vietnam Education Forum was held in National Taiwan University on September 18, 2017 with more than 200 participants from Taiwan and Vietnam. The representatives of universities in Vietnam were almost all rectors or vice-rectors, and the number of universities and people from Vietnam participating surpassed all past forums. This is a strong indication that educational cooperation between Taiwan and Vietnam has reached a new level.

Dr. Leeh-ter Yao, the Political Deputy Minister of Education in Taiwan, spoke at the opening ceremony and pointed out that the Ministry of Education in Taiwan has cooperated with the Ministry of Education and Training of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to jointly hold an Education Forum since 2010, and this has built a solid foundation for bilateral educational cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Vietnam, which have become even more closer. Looking forward, he said that hoped to continue to create opportunities for exchanges between schools, colleges, and universities in each country and encourages them to put forward more proposals for future educational cooperation. Furthermore, given the trend of internationalization of higher education he hoped to assist young students who are willing to study or undertake internships overseas abroad, by signing MOUs and providing scholarships, to enhance their ability to move across borders, and their global vision. This will create win-win scenarios for both countries.

At the end of August this year, a total of 906 agreements had already signed between 111 universities in Taiwan and 215 in Vietnam. In the 2016 academic year, there were 4,774 Vietnamese students studying in Taiwan, ranked third among the numbers of students from the 16 countries in Southeast and South Asia. In the last four years, the total number has grown more than 30%, which indicates that there is great potential for bilateral cooperation.

The themes of this year’s forum were 1. training and exchange opportunities for Chinese and Vietnamese teachers, and 2. TVE human resources training and overseas internships for students. Representatives from industries and academies were invited to give presentations addressing the current status of educational cooperation and its future prospects. The speakers all gave enthusiastic and stimulating talks that sparked more thought and discussion. In the afternoon, there were three parallel group meetings, each addressing popular fields of study: the Ministry of Education in Taiwan presented sessions on science and technology, on humanities and commerce, and on agriculture. These enabled the participating universities to have focused talks related to their own strengths, and to initiate discussions on how to realize cooperation and exchanges.

As part of the New Southbound Policy, the Ministry of Education launched a New Southbound Policy human resources development plan last year, which promotes educational exchanges between Taiwan, and countries in Southeast and South Asia. A further aim is to deepen the interactions and relationships to create conditions that facilitate bilateral educational cooperation and development of human resources. Universities can play an invaluable role in bringing a ‘people-based New Southbound Policy’ to life, so Dr. Huey-Jen Jenny Su, the president of National Cheng Kung University was invited to be the keynote speaker and to give a presentation on ‘the function and the role of universities under the New Southbound Policy’.

Two days of visits to campuses, enterprises, and cultural sites after the forum were also arranged for the delegates from Vietnam, in order to give them a deeper knowledge and understanding of the academic research facilities, industries, and culture in Taiwan.