In October and November 2018, as part of the EU-funded VET Toolbox project, four vocational colleges in Vietnam were assessed and benchmarked to UK quality standards in a support mission delivered by the British Council. The outcomes from the assessment will assist Vietnam colleges to reach international quality standards in line with Vietnam’s vocational education development strategy.
The British Council invited two UK experts, Elizabeth Shackels from South West College in and Ken Philpott from South East Regional College to Vietnam to conduct a light touch inspection of the colleges. Mr Philpott, an automotive expert commented: ‘Having 20 years’ experience in the automotive business and 15 years’ in training I am very eager to share my knowledge and advice from the perspectives of both employer and training provider to the colleges in Vietnam to help them improve the quality in the field.’
The inspection drew on UK guidelines to benchmark the quality of teaching and learning in the four selected colleges to UK standards and assess the robustness of the quality assurance mechanisms in place.
The selected colleges were Can Tho Vocational College, Nha Trang College of Technology, Dalat Vocational College and Thu Duc College of Technology.
‘It is very important that colleges take responsibility for their own quality. I appreciate the support of the EU-funded Toolbox project and the British Council, as well as international partners to help Vietnam improve quality of vocational education through this benchmarking.’
Le Quan, Vice Minister, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam
‘The colleges gained great benefits from the inspection,’ added Dr Do Nang Khanh, Deputy Director General of Department of Vocational Education and Training (DVET). ‘The inspection helps the colleges benchmark their quality to UK standards and improve their self-assessment process in order to raise their quality standards. In particular, recommendations from the UK experts steers the colleges to develop strategies to overcome identified limitations and improve the quality of training, employer engagement and employability opportunities for students after graduation. Vietnam is in the process of building models of employer-led training to enable colleges reach world-class standards, so the results of the inspection based on UK quality standards are extremely valuable.’
The UK experts spent three days in each colleges meeting with a wide range of staff including the principal, heads of departments, faculty leaders and teaching staff. They visited workplaces to observe and interview students currently studying or taking internships, as well as former graduates in order to assess the effectiveness and impact of the enrolment process, training programmes, employer engagement, and the learners’ journey from admission to graduation.
The visit culminated in a seminar in Dalat, attended by over 140 participants, at which the key findings of the visit were highlighted.
A self-assessment tool to help other colleges in Vietnam and internationally to identify their strengths and areas for improvement will be developed as part of the project. This will be available on the VET Toolbox website shortly.
‘We hope through receiving recommendations from the UK experts, the Vietnamese colleges gain more confidence to develop innovative approaches and sustainable solutions to move towards achieving international quality standards across the board for vocational education. The benchmarking initiative is the first VET Toolbox the British Council is delivering in Asia, and it coheres perfectly with Toolbox’s objective of providing targeted, tailored know-how, tools and advice in order to improve the effectiveness of VET reforms. British Council would like to thank the four colleges - all of which were very receptive and keen to enhance their teaching and learning - and DVET for helping to make the project such a success.’
Neil Shaw, Senior Consultant, British Council