Further Deepening Educational Cooperation

4:38:30 PM | 8/11/2023

Vietnam and Singapore are both members of ASEAN and have cultural and historical affinities. Their educational cooperation has helped them expand their contacts and foster diverse collaborations and partnerships.

Within the framework of the ASEAN education ministers meeting 2022, Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son (R) and the Minister of Education of Singapore Chan Chun Sing exchange views on enhancing education cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore

Achievements in educational cooperation

Singapore has a world-class education system and is a leading destination for international companies and organizations, especially in the fields of high technology, telecommunications, finance-banking and commerce. Therefore, Vietnamese students and professionals who study or attend training courses in Singapore not only acquire excellent knowledge and skills, but also have the opportunity to experience the international living and working environment. The educational cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam has developed since the early 2000s, especially since 2007 when the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on educational cooperation in areas such as general education, higher education, English language and English teaching training for Vietnamese teachers as well as twinning models for universities. To date, the Singapore Government has provided about 2,000 scholarships or financial aid to Vietnamese students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in business, science and technology, arts, services and other fields at Singapore’s public universities such as the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU). In addition, the Singapore Government has provided scholarships for Vietnamese students to study at top public high schools through the ASEAN scholarship program managed by the Singapore Ministry of Education and the A*STAR scholarship program managed by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research. Students who graduate from high school continue their education at public universities in Singapore or other developed countries.

Vietnamese students who have received scholarships and financial aid from the Singapore Government have become experts, government officials and successful entrepreneurs after more than 20 years. They are a vital source of human capital and a critical link in the collaborations between the two countries. The Singapore Government has also provided short-term and long-term scholarships for Vietnamese civil servants and public employees to attend training courses in various fields. In particular, the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has funded the studies of hundreds of civil servants from Ho Chi Minh City for many years. In addition, Singapore has enabled young Vietnamese to pursue self-funded studies at private schools, vocational colleges and universities in Singapore. The number of short-term and long-term students in Singapore at different levels and fields has now reached tens of thousands. Some Singaporean private schools and businesses have also established secondary schools, vocational schools, or training partnerships with Vietnamese schools. So far, there are 16 general education institutions in Vietnam and Singapore that have collaborated to promote cultural exchange and connection among students and teachers of both countries. Currently, several Singaporean universities and research institutes are working with Vietnamese partners to conduct research projects in science and technology or facilitate exchanges among lecturers and experts.

Plenty of room to develop bilateral educational cooperation

At an online meeting of the Vietnam-Singapore joint working group on education and training in June 2021, Vietnam Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Phuc and Singapore Deputy Minister of Education Lai Chung Han both affirmed that bilateral educational cooperation is important to both countries. Deputy Minister Nguyen Van Phuc stated that the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training hoped to continue to work closely with the Singapore Ministry of Education in areas of mutual interest such as teacher training courses and student and teacher exchange, as well as finalize the Memorandum of Understanding on educational cooperation. According to Singapore’s Deputy Minister Lai Chung Han, in order to strengthen the two countries’ diplomatic ties, Singapore will increase the number of scholarships for Vietnam’s outstanding high school students (from 30 scholarships/year to 60 scholarships/year). Simultaneously, the Singapore side is always willing to support Vietnamese students and teachers who want to study and work in its country. At the end of 2021, the Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son had a working session with Singapore’s Minister of Education Chan Chun Sing as part of the 12th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED). During the working session, Mr. Chan Chun Sing emphasized the need to boost collaboration among universities in Vietnam and Singapore as well as promote teacher training and vocational training courses in order to deepen the relationship between the two countries.

Minister Chan Chun Sing expressed his hope to double the number of Vietnamese education institutions that have twinning partnerships with Singaporean education institutions, so that more Singaporean students can come to Vietnam for internships and work in start-ups, and more Vietnamese students can choose Singapore as their destination when applying for ASEAN scholarships. Singapore’s Minister of Education also conveyed his wish to welcome Vietnamese PhD students to Singapore to pursue their studies and consider Singapore as a bridge to connect with other countries, as Singapore is a hub for many researchers from around the world. With the achievements of educational cooperation in recent years and the shared aspiration of enhancing the bilateral ties of the two countries’ leaders, it is expected that Vietnam and Singapore will continue to strengthen their effective educational cooperation in the future.

By Thu Huyen, Vietnam Business Forum