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Fact Sheet: United States-Vietnam Education Cooperation

May 25, 2016

The United States is committed to supporting Vietnam's efforts to develop a 21st century higher education system to produce trained, job-ready graduates with the skills necessary to compete in an increasingly global market. Our collaboration on education pre-dates the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, has been growing annually, and increasingly features innovative partnerships with higher education institutions and companies. Through U.S. assistance, our shared work has already impacted 30,000 university students through curriculum support, training, and capacity building at the faculty and administrative levels in the engineering and social work education sectors. We have expanded this support to the science, technology, engineering, math, and medical education fields. By leveraging expertise and funding from the private sector, our programs in higher education have far-reaching impact and are addressing the demands of a rapidly changing Vietnamese economy.

The Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) will be a watershed in U.S.-Vietnam education cooperation. With over $20 million in investment from the U.S. government, FUV will be the first independent, non-profit university in Vietnam and represents a unique contribution by the United States to Vietnam's development. By modeling core principles including academic freedom, meritocracy, transparency, and equal access, FUV will bring a world-class university to Vietnam and foster greater linkages with the United States.

Higher education represents one of the best examples of the rapidly growing people-to-people ties between the United States and Vietnam. Examples of the more than twenty years of U.S. assistance in support of the development of Vietnam's higher education system include the following:

Improving Access, Curriculum and Teaching in Medical Education and Emerging Diseases (IMPACT MED) Alliance: A new USAID alliance with seven private sector partners to help the health workforce address current and future challenges. Working with three Vietnamese universities in each region of the country, the alliance will improve the quality and effectiveness of medical education in Vietnam through training in modern pedagogy, use of technology, and integration of clinical content; improving teaching and learning of key skills necessary to ensure a strong, high quality workforce able to detect, treat and respond to emerging health threats; and developing leadership for continuous and sustainable innovation and improving access and outcomes for socially and economically disadvantaged students, especially ethnic minority doctors and health workers.

• USAID alliance leads: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN)

• Private sector partners: IBM, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, GE, Bravo Vietnam, 3M, Samsung

Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) Alliance: USAID and Arizona State University will launch a new alliance with 14 industry partners. The BUILD-IT Alliance leverages government, industry, and academic partners in the U.S. and Vietnam to link science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction in Vietnamese universities with the needs and capabilities of industry partners. It aims to produce graduates who can lead inclusive, technology-based growth by engaging leadership in strengthening higher education policy; enabling university-private sector collaboration; developing curriculum partnerships, mentorships, and industry-sponsored practical opportunities to build students' professional and technical competencies in preparation for STEM careers; and improving academic programs and outcomes as a whole.

• Other BUILT-IT U.S. university partners: Catholic University of America, Portland State University

• Private sector partners: Autodesk, Siemens, Tektronix, Pearson, National Instruments, Microsoft, S.E.N Platform, mobifone, Viettel Group, eSilicon, Intel, Oracle, Everest Education

The Fulbright Program: Since 1992, Fulbright has supported more than 500 Americans and nearly 700 Vietnamese for study, research, and teaching. Vietnamese Fulbrighters now occupy leading positions in all sectors. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pham Binh Minh, is a Fulbright alumnus.

The Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) began in 1994 to teach market economics in Vietnam at a time of great transition. It has become a Master's degree program whose 1,200 alumni are guiding Vietnam's economic development, as economic ties with the United States increase exponentially. The Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, is an alumnus of FETP's Vietnam Executive Leadership Program. FETP will become the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management within FUV in 2016.

Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF): VEF is an independent U.S. agency created by Congress in 2000 to support Masters and PhD study in science fields by Vietnamese at U.S. institutions. Since 2003, VEF has supported nearly 600 fellowships. VEF is scheduled to sunset in 2018, but its Fellows will continue to serve as a source of U.S.-trained academics to help lead Vietnam's development.

There are now 19,000 Vietnamese students attending U.S. universities. Enrollment grew by 13 percent in 2015 alone with the support of the Department of State EducationUSA advising program. Vietnam continues to be the leader in Southeast Asia in this field, and is currently the 9th largest source of foreign students to the United States worldwide. Given that Vietnamese identify education as a top priority, there is much room for continued growth in this sector.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: United States-Vietnam Education Cooperation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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