INTRODUCTION TO EVENT PROJECT
This project responds to the needs of Vietnamese higher education institutions. Unemployed university graduates recently initiated a public debate and discussion of government agenda. Officials from Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), have publicly commented that the unemployment of university graduates in Vietnam stem from a mismatch between the education offered, and the demands of the labor market. The feedback from the labor market seems to underline this, but employers also mention a lack of “soft” competencies in newly graduated job applicants. The responses from graduates suggested a lack of actors bridging between universities and employers, while MOLISA has stated that there is a surplus of graduates recently given the countries current economy. Moreover, information on the real state of employment of university graduates is not enough for both universities in developing the curriculums and MOET and MOLISA in their management. Performance of a detailed tracer study would benefit all partners by designing a standard tracer study, providing evidence for the curriculum development and management of related ministries. This potentially identify the areas where the academic education offered by our partner universities is askew with the demands of the labor market.
Three European and five Vietnamese universities involve in this project. In this section, the role of each partner in the project is briefly provided. Uppsala University is a coordinator of the project, ensuring that all objectives are met, making sure all indicators are measured in the quality control of the project, and making sure activities are carried out as they have been written in the proposal. University of Valencia, one of the most outstanding Spanish universities in both national and international rankings, plays a significant role in the project. It contributes in the different packages that are designed in the project and leads the work package of the tracer studies. University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, and the it is currently in the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The university contributes to the projects in different packages by developing tracer studies, teaching research methodology, giving inputs to develop the career center at Vietnamese university partners.
Five Vietnamese university partners include National Economics University (NEU), Hanoi University of Industry (HaUI), University of Hue (HU), Ho Chi Minh city University of Technology and Education (HCMUTE), and Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH). National Economics University is one of the leading universities in Economics, Management and Business Administration with more than 45 thousand students currently enrolled. It is the current chair of the network of more than 40 universities offering economics and business administration degrees in Vietnam. Participated in this project, NEU has played its roles on conducting the tracer study, career center and web-portal development. HaUI is the oldest technical university in Vietnam, offering many technical majors and training degrees. It currently has 27 thousand students enrolled in different levels: college, university, and post-graduate. HaUI takes lead in the work package on dissemination and exploitation in the project, participates in all project activities, and assists the coordinator in management of the project. Hue University has been recognized as a key academic and scientific research hub for central Vietnam and the whole country. It has succeeded in building its position as a prestigious institution in Vietnamese higher education system. Currently, it has 8 colleges under the its umbrella with 47 thousand students currently enrolled . With its previous experiences in Erasmus Mundus projects, the HU participates in all work packages of project in order to further enhance the university’s educational and academic roles in terms of student activities support, especially employability of graduated students. HCMUTE is the first university in Vietnam educating and training technical teachers for the whole country. It offers quality technology-oriented programs delivered at various levels of training and in different modes of study. Current enrollment is of 24 thousand students, including both part-time and full-time training modes. The university mainly participates in career center, tracer study and project quality assurance. HUTECH possesses highly ranked and nationally recognized academic programs. It is a home for students who desire to study in an intimate scholarly and dynamic atmosphere as well as conduct higher education in a trustworthy institution. The university assists the coordinating institution with implementation of the project by leading a work package on the quality plan and by participating in all other activities in the project.
Objectives of the project
The wider objective of the project is to increase employability of university graduates in Vietnam. To reach to the central objectives, the project attempts to work towards the specific objectives as following: Perform a detailed tracer study at partner universities. The data collected in such a study would be fed back to the curricula designers and higher education managers. This could potentially help to identify the areas where the academic education offered by the partner universities is askew with the demands of the labor market. This tracer study offers methodology to other universities in Vietnam, inviting them to do the same. This will potentially assist in bridging the gap in the mismatch between education and work. Design and host intensive workshops for teachers and educators in our Vietnamese partner universities, raising the awareness of the particular skills reportedly lacking in Vietnamese students. International experts are currently implementing models on how to reach both students and university management stress the importance of raising awareness not only with university teachers but also at the level of university management as well as with the students. The project therefore aims to set up meetings with all the specified target groups, relying on data from the tracer study, in order to create a permanent place for soft skills development at our partner universities. Develop a collaboration between partner universities and the industry. A career center plays a role in employability of student by bringing together university, students and industries. By developing a web portal, it continues gathering information in line with the tracer study, adding to the data already collected.
Connection to other parts of the project
The tracer study is an important work package under the project. By counselling with related stakeholders, this tracer study is conducted to respond to the need of understanding employability of university graduates and feedback on curriculum designs and management. Results from the survey will reveal the real state of employment of newly university graduated students in Vietnam, what competences and/or knowledge students need to be trained, and how to deliver them. The tracer study is closely associated with the career center work package since it provides feedback to adjust curriculums, feedback on what competences and how the career center should provide to meet demand in the labor market. The tracer study also provides inputs for designing a web-portal offering appropriate services and a flatform for collecting more regular data on employment of university graduates.