National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on Monday expressed his hope that universities and educational institutions of Vietnam and New Zealand will reach specific, direct cooperation agreements, helping to deepen the collaboration between the two countries.
Addressing an education forum held at the University of Waikato in New Zealand’s city of Hamilton, Hue noted that since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1975, the Vietnam-New Zealand relationship has been developing constantly, adding that the two countries set up a strategic partnership in 2020, making Vietnam the only strategic partner of New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific.
Briefing participants on Vietnam’s achievements, including those in education, the leader cited the World Bank’s forecast that about 3.5 million Vietnamese students will have demand for higher education by 2035, doubling the figure in 2019.
He affirmed that education is one of the most important cooperation areas in the implementation of the action program realising the Vietnam-New Zealand strategic partnership for 2021-2024.
There are about 2,000 Vietnamese students in New Zealand, and about 25 officials from Vietnamese ministries and agencies are sent to the country each year for training under a cooperation program between the two nations, Hue said.
The top legislator said within the framework of the visit to Vietnam by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and the New Zealand Ministry of Education inked a cooperation agreement, which created a legal basis for the two sides to promote educational collaboration at different levels.
He also highlighted the significance of educational links to cooperation in other spheres.
According to the leader, out of more than US$435 billion in foreign direct investment in Vietnam, some $5 billion has been injected into 500 education projects.
Many of the world’s leading universities have opened their facilities in the Southeast Asian nation, Hue said, expressing his hope that more New Zealand universities will come to Vietnam.
Highlighting Vietnam’s great demand for education and training, Hue said he hoped that the forum would open up a new period for educational cooperation between the two countries.
In his remarks, New Zealand’s former Governor-General and current Chancellor of the University of Waikato Anand Satyanand stressed that New Zealand wishes to bolster cooperation with countries in Indo-Pacific in trade, education and culture, and expects to restore and increase the number of Vietnamese students in the country as compared to the pre-pandemic level.
He viewed educational cooperation as an effective channel to enhance mutual understanding and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato Professor Neil Quigley, who is also President of the New Zealand-Vietnam Friendship Association, emphasised the constant development of the bilateral educational ties, saying the Vietnamese government has fully supported educational cooperation programs between the two countries.
Sharing Hue’s view, the professor said there remains potential for Vietnam and New Zealand to boost their educational cooperation.
Grant McPherson, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, also affirmed that education has remained a key cooperation area between the two countries, and that New Zealand attaches importance to the exchange of students.
Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country that has established cooperative ties with many major universities of New Zealand, which vividly demonstrates the good relationship between the two countries, he noted.
At the forum, Hue and leaders of the University of Waikato witnessed the exchange of 10 memoranda of understanding on educational cooperation between the two countries’ universities, covering foodstuffs, agriculture, construction, economy, business administration, biology, scientific research, climate change and hotel management, among others.
On this occasion, the New Zealand - Vietnam Friendship Association announced its re-establishment after a period of interruption.