Tra Vinh University: 20 years of flexible application of North American regional training models

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TVU – For over 20 years of establishment and development, Tra Vinh University has gradually elevated its position from a young local college by flexibly applying the North American community college model (Canada). It has become a university of regional and national stature in the Mekong Delta region. At the same time, Tra Vinh University has been fulfilling its mission of “Bringing quality learning opportunities to community.”

International education and partnership conference between Vietnam and Canada was held at Tra Vinh University

A multi-disciplinary, multi-modal training model, closely linked with businesses and integration

TVU’s operating philosophy is to link training programs to meet the needs of the community. All activities and decisions of the institution are aimed at serving the community and society, meeting diverse learning needs through various forms of training, multiple disciplines, and levels of education (college, university, and post-graduate), to meet lifelong learning needs of learners. Community participation is considered a key factor in program design, teaching, and practical training… The continuous training programs are updated, improved, and adjusted according to the needs of learners and the labor market inside and outside the country.

Today, with the strong development of various training forms suitable for a lifelong learning society, training on demand, online and remote training, on-the-job training, etc., the geographic limitations of a university are almost eliminated, instead aiming for the values of a “borderless university,” which include diversity in training, collaboration and partnership, multicultural teaching environments, sharing, globalization, and high application to serve practical life and meet the diverse needs of the community.

In today’s competitive and demanding job market, assessing market demand is a mandatory task for a university. Market demand assessment, especially evaluating the labor market shortages, helps universities gain a full understanding of the current status of the workforce in the community (in terms of quantity and profession), know the new skills and competencies required in the labor market, the labor supply sources, and the units involved in labor force development, the difference between labor supply and demand for key economic areas, the causes of unemployment and job shortages. Based on this, the university can provide the necessary guidance in career counseling for students. From there, developing education, partnerships with community organizations, identifying and seeking resources, career guidance based on demand, and providing personalized services towards the mission of “Serving the community and society”.

Flexible applying North American community college models to TVU

After more than 20 years of formation and development, thanks to the flexible application of North American college models, along with relentless efforts, solidarity in overcoming difficulties and leveraging its potential advantages, Tra Vinh University (TVU) has quickly risen in terms of training quality and reputation both domestically and internationally. TVU has made significant contributions to the cause of training high-quality human resources, creating motivation to promote the rapid process of industrialization and modernization in Tra Vinh province, the Mekong Delta, and the whole country.

Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung, former Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council of Tra Vinh University has been closely involved in the development of the university since its early days. He recalls, “In the early days, recruiting and training staff, lecturers to build a framework for functional units, international cooperation units, teaching, scientific research, ensuring the quality of training, student employment was even more difficult. The university leadership had to contact universities and widely publicize the recruitment of lecturers. On one hand, thanks to Canadian experts who regularly trained the university staff and lecturers in developing effective university strategies and management, developing training programs, teacher training, labor market surveys, student management, and employment services. On the other hand, the university encouraged staff, lecturers, and students to improve their English proficiency, proactively expand international relations, and participate in domestic and overseas scholarship programs to enhance their professional capacity, and qualifications and increase their ability to integrate into international education.”

After successfully implementing the Vietnam-Canada Community College Project from 2001 to 2006, Tra Vinh University laid a crucial foundation for its development by applying new teaching methods with learners at the center and serving the community. The university focused on practical training, improving teaching skills, conducting scientific research, developing teaching programs with strong participation from the business community, and following the footsteps of students from enrollment to graduation with stable employment. They also had the capacity to survey and evaluate the labor market with a focus on gender, ethnicity, and disadvantaged groups in society, as well as management and international cooperation.

Currently, Tra Vinh University is among the top universities in the Mekong Delta with 13 internationally accredited programs according to AUN-QA, FIBAA, ABET standards, including Agriculture, Aquaculture, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Khmer Language, Business Administration, Economics-Law, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Master of Business Administration, Master of Economic Management, Information Technology. For several years, UI GreenMetric has ranked Tra Vinh University among the top 200 sustainable green universities, friendly to the environment. The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) also announced that Tra Vinh University is among the Top 100 in the WURI Ranking of universities with positive social impact and contributions.

Tra Vinh University has expanded cooperation with over 90 international partners, institutions, and universities in various fields such as training cooperation, student exchange, faculty exchange, volunteering, international expert collaboration, and implementation of sponsored projects and applied research. They promote many related projects such as short-term and long-term scholarship funds for lecturers and students, Lab development – creative space for students and lecturers, international training links, etc. Currently, Tra Vinh University is a member of the CDIO organization – an organization promoting educational frameworks to improve the quality of engineering education worldwide. Additionally, the university is the 151st member of the Canadian Community College Association, now known as Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Tiet Khanh, Chairman of TVU Council, delivered a speech at the conference

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Tiet Khanh, Chairman of TVU Council, has stated that “TVU is striving to create a favorable environment for socializing learning, research, employment, technology transfer, and serving the community. Twenty years of pursuing the mission of the university is twenty years of ambition, creating a milestone along with the development journey of the province. Now, a new chapter in the development history of Tra Vinh University continues to open with aspirations to excel and create milestones for a young university with a great desire to reach out to the world, aiming to become an advanced and intelligent university in the future, continuing to affirm the quality of education and create even more value for its mission of ‘Bringing quality educational opportunities to community’.”

Enhancing cooperation with international partners in the field of training and vocational education

Thanks to the achievements that the Vietnam-Canada Community College Project has brought, it can be said that the Government and people of Canada have accompanied the economic, social, and educational development of Tra Vinh province in general and Tra Vinh University in particular. In 2023, marking the “Golden” milestone – 50 years of establishing diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Canada, Tra Vinh University is honored to be one of the milestones of friendship between the two countries governments and peoples, as it has been a companion for nearly half of the journey to the “Golden” milestone between the two countries.

On March 20-21, 2023, Tra Vinh University, together with the British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE), Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan), Nova Scotia Community College, and the Vietnam Association of Community Colleges (VACC), jointly organized the “Developing Sustainable Partnership between Vietnam and Canada in the Field of Training and Vocational Education” workshop, with the participation of Mr. Behzad Babakhani, Canadian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, and more than 300 domestic and international delegates, experts, and scholars, marking a significant step in the deepening, effectiveness, and substance of the partnership between Vietnam and Canada in education and training.

Sir. Behzad Babakhani, Canadian Consul General (left); Mr. Tran Hoan Kim, Chairman of the Advisory Council of Tra Vinh University (middle); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Tiet Khanh, Chairman of the School Council (right) discussing after the conference.

The conference consisted of 4 plenary sessions revolving around the following topics: Canadian university and community college models in Vietnam; Achievements from Canada-Vietnam bilateral cooperation and deeper connections; Student mobility, opportunities, and challenges for Canadian youth in developing global skills through international activities; Digital transformation in education. In addition to the plenary sessions, the workshop also included parallel sessions with the participation of domestic and international experts and scholars on International cooperation towards sustainable development values for human resources in agriculture and fisheries adapting to climate change; Community development and gender for sustainable development goals; Artificial intelligence transforming occupational structure – CHAT GPT; Digital transformation in education, vocational training, and labor markets; Digital transformation in online training; Labor market shifts – Developing vocational skills of Vietnamese students in a new era

Forum for signing the elevation of cooperation, and development of sustainable partnerships between Vietnam and Canada in the field of training and vocational education among the parties involved.

At the conference, the forum for signing the elevation of cooperation and development of sustainable partnerships between Vietnam and Canada in the field of training and vocational education was established among the parties involved, including Tra Vinh University (TVU) – British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE) – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) – Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and member schools of the Vietnam Association of Community Colleges (VACC). They agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in promoting digital transformation in teaching and learning, developing curricula, and teaching programs, collaborating on training and scientific research projects, and contributing to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in higher education institutions.

Mr. Tran Hoan Kim, former Chairman of the People's Committee of Tra Vinh Province, Head of the Vietnam-Canada Community College Project Steering Committee, and Chairman of the Advisory Council of Tra Vinh University (second from the left) at the plenary session.
Mr. Tran Hoan Kim, former Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tra Vinh Province, Head of the Vietnam-Canada Community College Project Steering Committee, and Chairman of the Advisory Council of Tra Vinh University (second from the left) at the plenary session.

According to Mr. Tran Hoan Kim, former Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tra Vinh Province, Head of the Vietnam-Canada Community College Project Steering Committee, and Chairman of the Advisory Council of Tra Vinh University, who has been dedicated to the development of the university, “After more than 20 years of development, this is a very important moment for us to look back on the journey with the motto ‘Bringing quality learning opportunities to the community’ truly coming into life and elevating the position of the university. The autonomous period has created core values of sustainable development, which are ‘Devotion, Transparency, Creativity, Friendliness’. Now more than ever, we need to unite and integrate further to raise the quality and step firmly towards the future.”

By TD