A philosophical evaluation of the internationalization of higher education: A case study on the public universities in Vietnam

Trang Thi Huyen Nguyen
2020 XLinguae  
The internationalization of higher education is a common development trend of universities in the world. For Vietnam, the globalization of education, the most important of which is higher education, is an essential and vital issue in the country's development strategy. However, at the same time, the international context is also posing many challenges for Vietnam when it comes to the competitiveness of highlyqualified workers in relation to other countries in the region, the existing skill gap
more » ... existing skill gap of good post-graduates, the brain drain phenomenon, etc. Besides analyzing current trends and their corresponding philosophical underpinning, this article focuses on ways of coping with these challenges. In addition to existing guidelines and policies of the state and universities in Vietnam, primarily concerning public universities (which account for over 70% of the universities in Vietnam), our study critically evaluates the following four groups of solutions: (1) improvement of university governance and enhancement of university autonomy; (2) strengthening joint training programs and quality assurance, while regularly updating and renovating training programs in line with general regional and world trends; (3) enhancing learners' exchange; and (4) strengthening cooperation in scientific research and international publications. International and Regional Context With the coming of the 21st century, on an international scale and in Southeast Asia, education has moved to a new, higher, and more complex stage of development. The establishment of the WTO and the formation of the General Agreement on Trades and Services (GATS) has facilitated the increase in imports, trade liberalization, and support services for higher education development. The 2009 World Conference on Higher Education held by UNESCO in Paris observed that higher education is moving under the impacts of new motivations. Among these belong increasing demand for admission, diversification of universities and sources, cooperation between universities and networking, the need for lifelong learning, the impacts of information and communication technology, social responsibility of universities, and changes in the role of the Government. The list of motivating factors described above is a concrete manifestation of a globalized world in higher education (UNESCO, 2010). According to T. Friedman (Friedman, 2005), it is a flat world where geographical, economic, and political barriers are being removed. This flat world is also making education "flat" in the sense of creating a flat, networked educational playground where everyone can learn, cultivate knowledge, develop skills, and all nations and organizations can participate in providing education, both cooperating and competing equally. As a result of this development, each higher education institution involved in the global competition needs to develop its own initiative in designing long-term, medium and short-term strategies, roadmaps, and action plans for the
doi:10.18355/xl.2020.13.03.10 fatcat:hygy6bs3ejgbvnza5xwfdng67y