Students in a practical period at the Biology Faculty of the International University under the HCM City National University. (Photo:VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Better links between industries and educational institutions are needed to enhance the employability of graduates in a more competitive globalised environment, said Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga.

Ga spoke at a two-day global education dialogue that began on June 16 in HCM City.

Vietnam has nearly 450 colleges and universities, some of them long-standing and well-known in the country with noted achievements, he said.

However, student employability remains a problem.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) student assessment test ranks Vietnam in the top 10 countries globally, "but we still get complaints from industries about the employability of graduates. So graduates need further training by industries to be employable,” Ga said.

Leaders of tertiary institutions are aware of the need for better university-industry links, curricula design and professional programmes.

However, university-industry partnerships have progressed slowly, Ga said.

Industry contributions to human resource training and student internships are still minimal.

Many industries believe that such training is solely the responsibility of universities.

“It is necessary to change the point of view about university-industry links to improve the quality of human resource training,” he said.

Ga said that through the two-day dialogue, the Government could develop better policies to encourage such links with universities.

Dialogue can also promote bilateral cooperation in education and training between Vietnam and the UK, and make significant contributions to the reform of the educational system in Vietnam.

Professor Werner Hofer, dean of research at Newcastle University, said “We need to laser-focus on specific R&D leadership areas and where there are gaps in global R&D clustering.”

Innovation hubs for commercial problem-solving should be developed, he said, adding that they create a regional innovation voice for national and international engagement with key corporate innovation leaders.

Vivienne Stern, director of the UK’s Higher Education International Unit, said that universities across the world are facing the challenge of how to prepare graduates for highly competitive globalised job markets.

To meet this challenge, institutions are adapting curricula, working directly with industry to provide professional experience and exploring new models of research as well as the creation of dedicated facilities allowing students and academic staff to explore the commercial potential of their work.

The dialogue was one of the activities under the Joint Statement on Higher Education Cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam, the British Council Vietnam and the UK Higher Education International Unit signed in London in September, 2015.

The dialogue attracted 130 delegates, including government officials, industry and higher education leaders, researchers and practitioners from the UK, Vietnam and ASEAN countries.-VNA