The Vietnamese Government pledges optimal conditions for New Zealand universities to strengthen educational cooperation in Vietnam, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung while visiting the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) on March 20 (local time).

With about 300 students, Vietnam is currently among the five countries having the highest number of students at the AUT, where school-society connection is focused and creation and dynamism is highlighted.

Talking to AUT teaching staff and students, the Vietnamese leader said his country, which now has 21 million students from nursery to tertiary education levels and 400 junior colleges and universities, regards education and training as the key to rapid and sustainable development.

It is willing to intensively cooperate with countries having advanced education for its comprehensive education and training reform, he noted.

The PM said at his earlier meetings with New Zealand leaders, educational cooperation was described a highlight in bilateral relations and will be bolstered, stressing the aim of increasing the Vietnamese student number here to 3,000 from the current 2,000.

He asked New Zealand in general and the AUT in particular to provide more scholarships and consider tuition fee reduction for Vietnamese students while suggesting tuition exemption for the Southeast Asian country’s post-graduate students.

The leader described Vietnamese students in New Zealand as a bridge helping foster the nations’ friendship, expressing his hopes that they will devote more to their study for the sake of themselves and their homeland’s development.

After the meeting at the AUT, the PM and his entourage left Auckland for Hanoi, wrapping up the official visit to New Zealand.-VNA