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Australia & Vietnam to boost cooperation in agriculture research, education

Released at: 14:22, 19/03/2018

Australia & Vietnam to boost cooperation in agriculture research, education

Photo: Embassy of Australia

Two sign agreements on cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries research and on creating new opportunities in education and skills training during Prime Minister's visit to Australia.

by Le Diem

Australian and Vietnam have signed agreements to boost cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries research and to create new opportunities in education and skills training, witnessed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the former’s official visit to Australia from March 14 to 18.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, and agreements between the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews and Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung and Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Phuc.

The MoU aims to further build on the existing framework to promote and support cooperation among qualified research and development institutions, researchers, and scientists from Vietnam and Australia. It will also help to build and improve the capacity of Vietnamese researchers (especially female researchers), managers and key institutions to support sustainable growth in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

“Our relationship with Vietnam has been consistently strong over the last 25 years, based on mutual respect and a sharing of agricultural expertise and knowledge between our countries,” said Professor Andrew Campbell, CEO of ACIAR. “Vietnam is a very important partner for ACIAR. It is heartening to see it transition from being a recipient of aid to being a proactive, collaborative partner in the development and delivery of well-targeted research projects, many of which involve direct investment from Vietnam alongside Australia.”

ACIAR has been cooperating with Vietnam since the early 1990s, investing around A$100 million ($70 million) in more than 170 research projects in the agriculture, agribusiness, forestry and fisheries sectors. The MoU supports the Strategy for Agricultural Research Collaboration of ACIAR in Vietnam 2017-2027.

Meanwhile, the agreements on education also include an MoU on vocational education and training and an MoU on broader education. Both will lead to an increase in cooperation between Australia and Vietnam in these important fields.

Ms. Andrews said Vietnam is becoming an increasingly important partner of Australia in international education. “Vietnam is the sixth-largest source of international students in Australia, with 23,670 students enrolled here last year, and was the second-most popular destination for Vietnamese tertiary students in 2015, following the US,” she said.

There is potential for further opportunities through these agreements as Vietnam looks to Australia’s expertise, particularly in vocational education, to establish frameworks that provide high quality skills training, Ms. Andrews added. The Vietnamese Government’s commitment to upskill the country’s workforce to sustain recent economic growth opens up new opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. Like Australia, Vietnam is focused on opportunities in high-value technical sectors and is looking to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to support its transition, she said.

The new MoUs provide a platform for international education cooperation between Australia and Vietnam. “Vietnam’s priorities are well aligned with the strengths of Australia’s world class education and training system, and we look forward to working together with Vietnam to benefit both our nations,” Ms. Andrews said.

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