Vietnamese Government Policies and Practices in Internationalisation of Higher Education
Internationalisation policies evolved when Vietnam transformed from central planning to a market oriented economy in the mid-1980s. While internationalisation, referred as “integration” in Vietnamese policy discourse, has become one of the priorities in Vietnamese higher education development and reform, internationalisation activities are fragmented and the system has not been able to reap the most benefits from the process. This chapter provides an in-depth analysis of government policies on internationalisation and the impacts of such policies at the national, system and institutional levels. Specifically, the chapter summarises the philosophical and practical evolution of Vietnamese internationalisation policies over the past two decades. It suggests that on the one hand, the Vietnamese government has moved from a one-sided reactive integration policy in the face of globalisation to a more proactive approach by setting ambitious goals and strategies to bring its higher education to a level comparable to the world. On the other hand, when practical impacts are considered, the philosophical transformation in policy does not seem to have been realised consistently and effectively, especially when delineation is made between the system and the institution levels. Drawing on the new institutionalist perspective, the chapter argues that, although internationalisation has contributed to diversifying the system in terms of the forms of institutions, programs, activities, and curricula, there is a prevalent isomorphic trend at the institution level. Institutions behave in a mimicking fashion and seek legitimacy through internationalisation without necessarily improving performance or quality. The chapter concludes that given a continuing failure to create the necessary conditions such as governance, financing mechanisms, and better higher education market information, internationalisation of Vietnamese higher education will continue to be import intensive and Vietnamese higher education institutions will remain unequal partners to their international peers.
KeywordsInternationalisation policy Higher education policy Globalisation Vietnam higher education Vietnam education reform
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