Using case studies in university curricula will help meet the need for a highly qualified workforce in the ASEAN Economic Community that takes effect next year, a professor of Vietnam National University's Technology University in Ho Chi Minh City said.

Prof. Bui Thi Minh Hang said that US's Harvard Business School used the case study method in its teaching programme.

Hang, who spoke at a workshop on building academic bridges held on July 28 by Vietnam National University-HCM City (VNU-HCM), said the method helps provide students with opportunities to learn and practice management, recognise and solve real world problems in the classroom.

A lack of real-life understanding of the workplace hampered students' knowledge and ability, while there were few opportunities to practice management skills, she said.

Hang said that Vietnam's universities should use international case studies as a basis to develop local cases.

She added that conferences or workshops on case study methods for business and social management faculties should be organised.

The VNU-HCM plans to develop case studies for its members and training managers for enterprises under the assistance of Singapore Management University (SMU).

The two universities on July 28 signed an agreement to enhance their academic strengths and promote economic, legal and education cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam.

In the agreement, SMU will help train case writing teams on business and law topics in Vietnam. It will allow VNU-HCM access to its case teaching database at its Centre for Management Practice (CMP) for a period of two years at no cost.

VNU-HCM will assist SMU by providing advice, contacts and references and CMP will add the Vietnamese case studies to its database.

In addition, they will create a student/faculty exchange programme, a joint Master's/PhD programme, and provide business services to the community such a legal consulting.

SMU will assist in setting up a centre for management practice at VNU-HCM.-VNA