The FINANCIAL — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved on May 15 US$155 million in financing to strengthen the research, teaching, and institutional capacity of three autonomous universities and improve the management of Vietnam’s higher education system.
More than 150,000 students and 3,900 members of faculty will benefit from the investments for Vietnam’s National University of Agriculture, the University of Science and Technology in Hanoi, and the Industry University of Ho Chi Minh City. Some 600,000 students and 27,000 lecturers from other higher education institutions will also broaden their learning resources by gaining access to a digital library at the National Economics University, according to the World Bank.
“Vietnam’s gains in higher education are evident in the numbers: 17 times more students enrolled since 1991,” says Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “But Vietnam needs stronger growth in labor productivity and further significant shifts of the workforce to more productive sectors. Addressing this challenge requires different skills sets and competencies and further strengthening the access to, and quality of higher education. This is at the core of what this project aims to achieve.”
The project will support the financing of new facilities and equipment for teaching and research, as well as the strengthening management systems. Science and technology universities as well as research-oriented institutions will benefit, so that lessons can be generalized to inform policies on autonomy and quality assurance for the universities.
Additional objectives of the project include support for the strengthening of the key components of higher education – such as the national accreditation system – as well as efforts to share the lessons learned by the beneficiary universities. The project will also support policy analysis for sustainable financing and autonomy and the development of an information management system and a shared e-library system.
The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for low income countries, will provide US$ 155 million to the US$ 174 million project, with the Government of Vietnam providing the remaining financing.