Training the dragon: transnational higher education in Vietnam

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To improve the quality of life for its citizens, Vietnam adopted market principles and created a socialist-oriented market economy. This transition has been largely successful. Rapid economic development and small-scale private enterprise have improved livelihoods, but a weak higher education system has not produced sufficiently skilled professionals. In response, Vietnam has incorporated transnational education into its higher educational system. Transnational education supplements Vietnam’s existing higher education system. It helps create an educated workforce, and enhances knowledge exchange and capacity building within and between educational institutions. But globalization, the commodification of education, and the impact these are having on Vietnam’s social and political structures create a tension in Vietnamese policy making and planning for higher education. How well Vietnam responds to this tension will be central to its aspirations for economic progress, an educated society, the social welfare of its citizens and a quality system of higher education.
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