Prof. Huynh Thanh Dat: Raise VNUHCM training quality to higher level

On January 16th 2017, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam handed over the Prime Minister’s decision on appointing Assoc. Prof. Dr. Huynh Thanh Dat to be President of VNUHCM. On this occasion, we invited the newly-appointed President for an interview on directions for development of VNUHCM in upcoming years.

*Congratulations on your new mission at VNUHCM. Would you please introduce in general about developing contexts of VNUHCM?

VNUHCM started to develop during our country’s 30 years of renovation. VNUHCM has been through 20 years of building and growing up, overcoming challenges, and until today it is assured that: the establishment of the two National Universities as the pivots for Vietnam higher-education has been a righteous and strategic decision of our Party and Government.

“The predecessor’s excellence and great dedications presented us with both valuable lessons and experiences, as well as require more efforts in the context of more challenges ahead”.

In past years, the two National Universities has step by step become centers for multidisciplinary training programs, scientific researching and technology transfer with top-tier standard in Vietnam. For instance, VNUHCM is taking the lead in number of training program attained regional and international standards, in quantity and quality of international publications, as well as global cooperation and exchange programs. VNUHCM is also a pioneer in building and developing a well-organized, modernized and environmental-friendly university-urban area, aiming to be a university smart city locating in the Northeastern gateway of Ho Chi Minh City.

There are some issues in need of address, such as land clearance and management in our universities center, maintain and develop human resources, enhance training and research quality in the context that Industrial Revolution 4.0 is emerging, plus the globalization and international integration has been flourished broadly.

*Would you like to share some feeling and thoughts about your newly-appointed mission as a President of VNU-HCM?

“It is my great honor and pride to be entrusted by our Party and Government to shoulder the missions as a President of VNUHCM. This position carries all gloriousness, responsibilities, and challenges, giving the context of globalization and increasing competency in education from both internal and foreign factors.

During previous years, VNUHCM has been crowned with remarkable success, which contributes to our nation’s development, particularly in education field. I want to credit these notable achievements to the efforts of all our teachers and students during previous years. Besides that, I also want to express my gratitude to both local and national elite leaders for the crucial direction and effective support. Therefore, not only to preserve and maintain these success is hard, but to develop and create greater achievements.

To obtain those goals requires much effort from each individual as well as our system. We need to strive incessantly and target to summit the development journey, to contribute sustainability and prosperity to our country.

*Will previous experiences at VNUHCM as a Permanent Deputy President advantage you in this higher assignment?

Back to the time of establishing VNUHCM, I spent years in one of its partner university as a student, then a managing position at university level, then VNUHCM level. I worked as Permanent Deputy President of VNUHCM for more than 12 years, since 2004. During that, I tried my best to accomplish my responsibilities, and also learned valuable experiences in managing various areas of operations of a great network of universities. Particularly, my visions and abilities has expanded and improved progressively.

Also, I was grateful that the Communist Party and Government had nominated me for training programs of cultivating political theories and strategic leadership skills during my years at VNUHCM. Not to mention that serving as Chief of Office and Permanent Deputy President, I had chances to work with other departments and boards in the system. Then, I understood both the strengths and drawbacks, the characteristics as well as prevalence, either cooperative or competence abilities of each departments. Gradually, I helped create a fair relationship and network of staffs, so that our whole system will work more efficiently.

On the other hand, my works demand a frequent connection to other local and national government agencies, which support me a lot in reporting and proposing changes for improvement of VNUHCM. All in, these are significant and valuable assistance to me in my upcoming works as a President of VNUHCM

*Could you list some planning priorities in directing and managing VNUHCM in the near future?

As mentioned in VNUHCM’s development strategies, my direction will focus on building VNUHCM to be a modern university urban center and enhance VNUHCM’s educational quality to a higher level. These aspiration and concerns are always burning in me, our predecessors and in all of us.

“I hope we will wholeheartedly come together to prove our skills and intelligence, to show our passion for sciences, our desire for further exploration and renovation.  We have to best play our part as a teacher, a leader, a manager to positively contribute in the mission of building up and developing VNUHCM”.

Addressing our first mission, we’re facing two issues, which are slum clearance and the fund management for this investment. We’ve prepared some possible solutions for these two concerns. With slum clearance, the Prime Minister approved VNUHCM’s proposals, completely solving with resources funded by the Government’s concentrated capital, plus supporting capital of Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong, and other fund resources within 2018. Other than that, appeal for funds turns to be the most challenging part when our economics is on the developing progress with limited capitals. Therefore, apart from government capitals, we are sending requests to related stakeholders for applying public-private policies (in detail, constructing – transfer contracts method). The Prime Minister agreed with this solution principally. We’re looking forward to upcoming progress within our partner universities, as well as the whole center. In the near future, the so-called “Village of universities” will be replaced by a modernized, smart and environmental-friendly university urban area.

On the other hand, improving education quality to integrate and reach regional and international standards is also a great mission for the whole system. The goals and planned progress are described in our development strategies. Currently, our partnered universities have acknowledged that missions more comprehensive, then invest their resources appropriately into enhance the education quality in all aspects.

Qualified values, standardized educational environment have been formed in all of our partner universities. The assessment at national, regional and international levels has been our priorities, hence brought us many positive outcomes. We will pay more attention to international assessment in coming terms.

To sum up, we need to put more sustained efforts into investment and direction to reach these two missions. We need to change our old-tradition way, our perceptions; keep the spirit dare to think, know to do and all with high-responsibility. I hope we will come together for this.

*With the new position, do you want to send any messages to all the staffs, officials, and lecturers of VNUHCM?

I suppose that it is not just the message that can cover my thoughts, my concerns and my desires. To all of our staffs, officials and lectures, the honored missions we’re caring come about great and meaningful for our society.

I want all of us to be united, to contribute our skills and intelligence, our passion for science, our desires for exploration. We have to play the best of our roles as teachers, leaders, managers to support and contribute into the development road of VNUHCM. Solidarity will bring us strength to accomplish our goals, our responsibilities, then help enhance our country’s reputation and values, as oneday we can compete in our region as well as at international level, as the expectations of the Party and Government.

*Thank you for your responses!




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