RMIT’s 15 years of local contribution

14:52 | 17/10/2016
On the occasion of RMIT Vietnam’s 15th anniversary on September 21, 2016, VIR talks with RMIT Vietnam’s president Prof. Gael McDonald about the university’s contributions to Vietnam during the past 15 years of the country’s growth, modernisation, and internationalisation.
RMIT Vietnam’s president Prof. Gael McDonald presenting the 2016 President’s Scholar.

Over the past 15 years, how has RMIT Vietnam helped to shape the future leaders of Vietnam?

From its first graduating class in 2004, RMIT Vietnam has graduated more than 10,000 highly-skilled and work-ready students who have gone on to contribute to industry, government, and community.

We educate and equip students to gain meaningful employment, to contribute to the future of their countries and to be leaders in their chosen fields. What we’re really about at RMIT Vietnam is creating an environment where young people can fulfil their potential to be the best they can be in their chosen careers.

We place a great deal of emphasis on ensuring our graduates are employable. This journey of employability begins as soon as students enter RMIT Vietnam. We provide a wide range of career development and employment services to help students plan and manage their careers, and obtain suitable employment. In addition to employment preparation, career plans and decision-making activities, our Personal Edge programme helps students develop employability skills alongside formal academic study. The programme consists of 25 modules across three categories: self-awareness, personal/career management, and personal development. Depending on the modules selected and completed, students will present a unique set of skills to employers. It’s a point of difference for our students and enables them to bring their strengths and individuality to the fore.

In the formal curriculum, we work closely with the industry to ensure students receive knowledge and skills that are aligned with the needs of future employers. Our lecturers bring extensive industry experience, providing students with real-world insights and examples. Students can then apply this knowledge in their work placement, where they have the opportunity to engage with some of the industry’s top business leaders.

Over the past 15 years, our graduates have been highly sought after by potential employers, a fact which validates our approach and motivates our organisation to achieve even greater milestones.

Since 2004, 10,000 students have graduated in business, technology, and creative fields

How has RMIT Vietnam given back to the local community?

Since its founding, RMIT Vietnam has awarded 890 scholarships valued at more than VND205 billion ($9.2 million) to young people who exemplify passion, courage, and imagination – characteristics that drive the university. Our scholarship programme not only benefits academically excellent students from across the country and around the world, but also those disadvantaged by physical, financial, or geographic circumstances. We also award scholarships to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated industries such as engineering, and to help women in business take leadership roles.

Among the dozen scholarship categories, President’s Scholars are our premier awards. They are granted to outstanding high school students who have achieved exemplary academic grades and demonstrated outstanding community engagement and leadership potential. In addition to full tuition, the recipients receive leadership mentoring and participate in leadership development programmes throughout their study.

At RMIT Vietnam, we are keen to extend the university’s expertise in career education to Vietnamese educators: 2015 was the culmination of three year’s work delivering career guidance workshops to educators all over the country. Following 2013 and 2014 workshops in southern and northern provinces, 2015 saw 50 district leaders, principals, and vice principals from 10 central Vietnam provinces join the programme – a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Training, local departments of Education and Training, and the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance. We hope this programme will help young people develop a greater ability to manage their careers for years to come.

Vietnam’s environmental future is also a primary concern for the university’s staff and students. We’re committed to providing student facilities that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient. More importantly, we’re responsible for ensuring environmental sustainability in our curriculum and for educating our students about their responsibility in a green future. We also engage with students in a number of green campaigns across the university, including community cleanup days and anti-littering campaigns.

What’s next for RMIT Vietnam, after 15 years of growing together with Vietnam?

The university will continue focusing on its goals of domestic and regional growth; quality programmes and infrastructure; and differentiation, which builds on its exemplary teaching, its connection with industry, and the employability of its graduates.

RMIT Vietnam is considering the introduction of a number of new bachelor and master’s programmes in engineering, technology, health, communication, design, language, and business over the next five years, subject to market analysis and its business planning. The upcoming launch of the university’s PhD programme will be another significant milestone, marking the introduction of an internationally-recognised PhD programme in which HDR (higher degrees by research) students are registered, supervised, and managed in country.

RMIT Vietnam is also proud to be working with the Vietnamese government, industry, and higher education institutions to build capacity, drive quality, and increase innovation. A recent example of our work together is the establishment of the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), which is a collaborative venture underpinned by imagination, inclusion, and impact. The inaugural objectives of CODE are to develop the Vietnamese education workforce, to showcase models of digital teaching and learning excellence, to generate scholarships for Vietnamese university staff to undertake studies in this field, and to promote and support research in this field, ensuring the centre remains at the forefront of the discipline.

CODE has just hosted two free public lectures by international renowned scholars in the field of Digital Teaching and Learning, the training programme about digital strategies for teachers and representatives from Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Education and Training and more in the series will come in the near future. In addition to the public lecture series, CODE will be opening a number of digital teaching and learning professional development qualifications to Vietnamese educators.

During the past 15 years, RMIT Vietnam has not rested on its laurels; it has pursued its goal of providing high quality education in Vietnam’s increasingly competitive tertiary education sector. We have continued to amplify our high quality academic qualifications, and our technology and education infrastructure to offer what we believe to be the most innovative, career-focussed tertiary education in the country.

Box

- The quality of RMIT’s research and education has recently been recognised, with the University rising in two major global ranking systems: RMIT has jumped 21 places to 252nd in the world in the 2016 QS World University Rankings, and in Australia, RMIT has risen to 13th overall and 10th for academic reputation.

- Students who enrol in RMIT Vietnam programs graduate with RMIT Australia degrees by completing the number of credits as defined by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

- As an offshore campus of RMIT Australia, RMIT Vietnam must comply with the requirements of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Australia’s independent national regulator of the higher education sector. 

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