Impacts of library and self-learning by VEF and FETP students to complete programs Ngày đăng 06/06/2020, 21:03
By: Nguyen Thi Lan Huong
NEWASIA GLOBAL LEARNING; Hanoi Bar Association;
Hy Vong Impaired Hearing School
Position: Lawyer; International/Education Researcher
Keywords: students services; completion of degrees; research university
In 2035 Vietnam Prosperity Plan, the key matter for human capital development for long-term sustainability has yet been included. From practices of thousand – years historical development of Vietnam, the Plan must be relied on well-educated human capital recommended by Intel and many FDI’ corporates, especially in the high-tech and trade world. To solve the challenge of lacking human resources with qualified knowledge/ practices to handle local issues, for local people’ advanced progress, to enter the global learning and economies, a request is arisen for transforming colleges system to “research-based/applied universities” to help students (Vietnamese and international students) succeed with all existing resources they have, i.e., library; students services supports and faculty. My research is to answer the question “How do students (from VEF and FETP programs) explore library and other learning/research services to complete their degrees?”
A story from one of the biggest SOEs (State Owned Enterprise)’ staffs for how Vietnam Prosperity Plan 2035  should be challenged  to succeed through Vietnam and foreign joint-cooperation of training and educating key people in line with Vietnam thousand year’s proverb “High – qualified people shall be the key for protecting nation and people” (“Hiền Tài là Nguyên Khí Quốc gia” ).
Recently, The Saigon Times posted a news about how to govern the national airline’ SOE , while they do business relying on the collective – decisions from politics and seems that everything of SoE, from human resources to business financing belongs to government controls.
The biggest SoE’ lessons in the last 25 years in Vietnam is not new, as the most biggest established SoE renamed to “State Corporates”, doing business in many cross-industries, such as airlines services covering almost services related to airlines and through many 3rd parties that not owned by State, but influencing the State budgets and business to take advantages for “Lợi ích Nhóm” (“Group of Interests”), which they labeled as “Corruption in Policies” (Tham Nhũng Chính Sách) in the politics studies, officializing them by economic – politics powers from time to time aligning with who (which group of powers) control the politics and economics .
It is clear than ever when in the last 10 years, Vietnam leading party and government must face with their hard “bit” lessons to re-structure and privatize SoEs’ bad debts, together with huge State loans from unsettled amounts in some biggest economic crimes of SoEs 
A sharing of learning experiences from an alumni graduated from one of famous American programs in Vietnam who has experienced more than 15 years of work in one of the biggest airline SoEs might give some essential evidences for why quality of educating human resources in free and open learning environment  shall actively play the key roles for not only SoE’ staffs, but for all aspects of Vietnam to be transformed into the knowledge-economic society , including but not limited to how importance of critical thinking; how to take challenges and responding to challenges by own efforts and responsibilities .
Vietnam and US has a long history in the past (200 years ago, Jefferson’ time)  till now, the time they tried hardly to improve their relationship for future, especially through cultural and education exchange under Fulbright Programs .
FETP, one effective work that US supports Vietnam is to educate the State officials and other people in disadvantaged areas and women, focusing on macro policies of economic areas .
Dispute the facts that Vietnam and US follow the different models of economics and politics’ views, FETP has been working well in Vietnam more than 20 years to help Vietnamese people and American people to get mutual understanding, besides building the key human resources for Vietnam’ re-structuring social – eco system.
One FETP’ alumni, with more than 15 years of the SoE’ airline services shared his learning experiences under Fulbright’ full-time two year scholarship to get his change to personal awareness for “taking own responsibilities in any work he does”, one of key characters for mature people in the SoE’ system in Vietnam, if we look carefully at the reasons why Vietnam SoE do not work well as their expectations as the leading Vietnam economy for changing society .
FETP’ folk graduated firstly from Vietnam Economy University (VEU) in 2003 with “Trung Binh Kha” (above minor average) of Human Resources Management Department (“HRMs”), with more than 13 months of job trials in different areas, from international NGO (protecting the seashore) to phone services. From his views, all knowledge he gained at 4 year VEU’ undergraduate and 13 months of job trials did not have much values to what he really needs to do the job that he committed with more than 15 years at airline service company (hereafter called “ASC”) in Hochiminh.
When he has joined in the ASC in 2005 till now, he still is the administration official (“normal official”) in charge of HRMs, but the 2 years of learning Fulbright program from 2009-2011 helped him to reflect how he might find his own responsibilities in his life, including his works at ASC.
The key of learning experiences of FETP’ folk is that he had a chance to study in the “open environment”; “no judgment”; “take responsibilities for his works, from pre-reading, doing homeworks/assignments, either by himself or in group works”; “no one might influence his own views”; and “how to convince others from facts-based”.
His enjoyment with FETP was that he did not learn the foundation knowledge only that might find out somewhere, but the ways how to realize what shall be the key values from learning for his change in mindset for “own learning; own responsibilities”. He highly appreciated his professors who shared views by advising him on each assignment; but he also had a chance to challenge them, even that was the final assignment for completing his degree, when he must decide to choose either timing for caring family or going to field trip to do the thesis.
He fully recognized that FETP is the good one for building up the foundations of knowledge, helpful for Vietnam officials in the State system, but he also fully aware that there are always gaps between what he learned from FETP programs to Vietnam realities, especially in his SoE’ situation that must follow the specific regulations and laws governing Vietnam SoE in the specialized services of airline.
His sharing about library, library services and the timing for library is quite a little surprise, as he and other his class’ friends explored library at free time between the different classes and for group works.
As most assignments were advised by professors, seems that exploring library and its services rely on each professor’s advice and directions of learning in each subject. The question for how to explore library services is not the part that he did express much on, except library has good books, friendly staffs and he and his professors might order library’ materials for the assignments. At FETP, they have open online resources for posting most of their courses and studies that have been done by their professors and public might use.
My research is to try to answer the question “How do students (from VEF and FETP programs) explore library and other learning/research services to complete their degrees?” is yet answered in the interview of SoE’ HRM staff. Finally, from his update, he completed his degree and such has been valued by the ASC when he backed to work.
However, the outcomes from the SoE’ interview and his sharing I found are:
(1) Exploring the open resources and library for learning, especially self-learning for improving learning experiences, are not the top of mind of learners, not only at FETP’ alumni I did interview, but in many other library services in Vietnam . Every assignment/homework relied on professors and programs given by FETP Academic and Administration who manage programs shall be interviewed for more understanding how do they develop programs; how do they ask students engaging with library and other learning services to support their learning experiences and completing degree.
(2) Fulbright – FETP is one special program cooperating between Harvard Kennedy School and UEH (University of Economics of Hochiminh) . The teaching and doing research at FETP might be built up a good example for not only FETP’ students, but for UEH in whole system of learning, teaching and sharing experiences for the same interests of research, such as why SoE in Vietnam do not play the key as expected, even almost key people of SoE learned from the best programs like FETP ? From sharing of one HRM’ staff at SoE in this paper, I realized that when learning one thing and practice is another , the same like FETP helped to develop “personal own responsibilities” for their learners, while this philosophy run in the system of “collective – decision” process that directed by government and leading Party, although professors and learners try to “understand” the paradox situations in the practical situations, SoE’ folk who is the FETP’ alumni fully aware that they learned is one thing; and how to apply in practice is another thing;
(3) Following the differences between the learning and the practice in SoE system, the questions for effectiveness of programs for (i) promoting the qualified human resources at SoE; (ii) the relevant changes to help Vietnam State officials to build up their capability in making policies and running their SoEs is the challenge for not only FETP, but Vietnam Government; (iii) how to promote the “Speak Up” from responsible people/key persons from SoE and non-SoE in making economic policy in Vietnam? This concerns FETP’ practice that their views on policy analysis are highly appreciated in public, but in reality how do their views to be implemented is another fact that FETP and their alumni should reconsider .
(4) FETP’ alumni, when was asked for what future of FUV (Fulbright University Vietnam, FETP’ successor) should look for, suggested that the key for FUV programs is how to keep their independence in academic management that all programs should be not followed or/and influenced by Vietnam Ministry of Education. This idea is from the folk experiencing State University is that (for him) not much value for life-learning and working; and the programs like FETP at least helped him to learn in “independent and open learning environment”. This also helped me as a researcher to get a further question, whether people shall learn their own responsibilities when they are “free” and “independent”, in their learning and in their jobs life, when I searched back to the SoE’ economic criminals in the last 10 years Vietnam Government must handle with huge bad debts SoE failed to make State budget insecure, not for now but also for future of all Vietnam society . This might help to raise a question for Vietnam Government what values for them to request US recognizing Vietnam as “a free market” , while their people and SoE must work not in the free manner? And how to define “free” for education, for economics and for whole society when not only FETP’ alumni realized that we need to change the ways we do, in education, in economics and in building up a “free and responsible people” in Vietnam society , that not only for SoE, but everyone must take own responsibilities for their works.
How Vietnam Prosperity Plan 2035 might “reach” in the proposed timeline as the plan for Vietnam Top 200 World Leading Universities in 2020 ?
I don’t know, but the lessons from SoE’ crimes and bad debts might, hopefully, teach Vietnam Government the effectiveness of qualified HRMs of SoE, the same like SoE’staff shared through his personal learning experiences in this paper: when we say (develop) one thing and do another thing, we go nowhere and exactly the same like we learn one thing, and the reality is another ones and responsibilities are “collective – decisions”!
Exploring alumni’ learning experiences from the best joint-program between US – Vietnam educational cooperation shall, hopefully, find out some insights for Vietnam colleges’ improving the learning/teaching and researching how to pursuit the sciences and the truth, the key values for everyone in the request of learning of “truth” to hope for Vietnam prosperity in future.
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