Academic year 2012- 2013: The motivation for a new period

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hong Son - Rector of the VNU University of Economics and Business
As the academic year 2012-2013 is about to close, the VNU University of Economics and Business is summing up all the programmes implemented during the year. On this occasion, we had a discussion with the UEB Rector, Assoc.Prof.Dr Nguyen Hong Son.

- The UEB has released its major achievements report of the academic year 2012-2013. Please tell us your personal judgments about these results. Are you satisfied with these outcomes?
Looking back each period, especially at the end of an academic year, is a chance for us to review and assess what we have done and what yet to be done, analyze the causes and learn from lessons to work out plan for the next period. It can be said that the 10 outstanding achievements are result of the continuous efforts of the staffs, fellows and students throughout the year. Such results do not fully reflect all but cover every major segment that our school is doing, namely training, scientific research and development cooperation. These outcomes also show our efforts in developing the school in a comprehensive approach, yet still having focus determined on advantages of individuals and units. These achievements are proofs that we are consistent to raise our school’s quality and efficiency in order to meet international standards.
 We are satisfied, proud and motivated by these outcomes to keep striving. However, it is necessary to emphasize that there are things needed to be improved and things needed to be perfected so that we can raise our school to higher level and better meet the needs of the economy and society.
- The academic year 2011-2012 was determined to be a stabilizing period to create momentum, and school year 2012-2013 as a period for the school to “attain breakthrough development based on innovation, professionalism, creativity and communal culture”. What such “breakthrough development” means? Has the school achieved its targets set for the year yet?
After 5 initial years (2007-2012) for stabilization, the UEB set the targets to attain breakthrough in school year 2012-2013 so as to create momentum for outstanding changes in the next period. After one year of implementation, our results are evaluated well. Breakthroughs in terms of quality and quantity are attained in all of three fields, namely training, research and providing other services.
In training, the number of new students recruited for the school year 2012-2013 surpassed our initial plan which was based on the standard score of the leading schools; 100% graduates meet standards. In the last year, the UEB not only continued upholding its quality training programs, especially high quality and strategic training programs, international affiliate programs, but also continued opening high quality programs, such as the Technology Management and Enterprise Development Master programs to meet the needs of society and promote the school’s advantages.
This school year can be called a “bumper season” of the UEB in terms of effectively  implementing short term training programs for localities and businesses. The school was invited to provide short term training courses for several provinces and cities, such as Hanoi, Yen Bay, Than Hoa, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho, and for businesses, such as Hanoi Trade Corporation (Harp), Taxi Group and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group. Besides, the school also actively provided capacity enhancing courses within the framework of the sustainable development program set for the Northwestern region. These activities demonstrate that the UEB has been trusted by many localities, organs and businesses in training high quality human resources.
In scientific research, the UEB not only carried out the state-leveled research projects assigned for school year 2011-2012, but also achieved breakthrough in bidding state-leveled and international research projects which have positive externality to connect and attract lecturers of the school’s departments and faculties. 
During school year 2012-2013, the UEB staffs and lecturers won bid of four state-level research projects and two international cooperation projects. The most outstanding project named “Evaluating and proposing solutions to minimize losses of the fisheries sector caused by climate changes in the North Vietnam” was a big project in terms of scale and expense. This project was a starting point to develop the Group for studying the economic effects of natural disasters and climate change on Vietnam’s economy and society. The school’s international reports are oriented to the world’s quality standard systems (ISI and SCOPUS, for example) while its publications in English are increasing in quantity. The lecturers and students continued receiving high awards from reputable “science playgrounds”. This is the third year the UEB transferred its study findings to the Central Theoretical Council. We can see that the USB’s studies are getting better and contributing much to the consultation of policymaking agencies and the government.
- Does the UEB have any secret to achieve such breakthrough?
We have no secret but have experience. Such breakthrough demands good planning. The UEB’s Management Board has been paying great attention to drawing and determined to implement plans in appropriate ways. The targets, plans and missions are built for a common goal and take advantages of the units, while the Board of directors and specialized units closely monitored from the beginning until the end. In particular, these plans are the roadmap for implementing the USB’s development strategy, mission and vision in each period. Completing annual plans mean we are step by step accomplishing our goal.
Additionally, every unit were facilitated to promote their initiative and creativity. We have clear regulations for proportional commend and rewards for individuals and units having major contribution so that they are encouraged to keep trying. The USB’s staffs and lecturers are always facilitated to utilize their capability.
I believe, however, that the most important factor is the solidarity and consensus of our staffs and leaders for the common goal. The school’s Party Committee and Board of Directors give right orientation and create favorable environment for the staffs, lecturers and scientists to work and contribute. Our remarkable achievement cannot be attained without the support of the VNU’s Board of Directors, related organs, agencies and our partners.
- Education sector, especially higher education, cannot avoid numerous obstacles during this difficult and highly competitive environment nowadays. These outcomes would not be easy, would they?
The previous academic year was a changing period for the UEB. We faced many difficulties generated by objective environment: our economy has yet to overcome difficult time, monetary tightening policy and public investment cuts have been negatively impacting our operation. The implementation of our cooperation programs, especially with businesses, got more difficult, while the competition in seeking development resources among universities became fiercer. One of our major achievements in this academic year is an amazing number of short term training courses which are considered as results of great effort made by different units.
We also faced other difficulties, such as changes in training management mechanism, especially postgraduate training; resources sharing with other organizations, insufficient facilities, limited investment and human resources for development; uneasy mechanism; incompatibility between ensuring good income for employees and upholding training quality and research-oriented development goal. Therefore, we have to always be flexible and creative in each step, especially in distributing resources to meet our targets.
- Scientific research plays a significant part among UEB’s 10 major achievements. It appears to become an increasingly important role in the school’s performance. It is understandable because the UEB is oriented to become a research university. Could you please specify where the UEB is in that road?
Becoming a research university is a long term process so we cannot be hasty. We cannot impose a research university model when our lecturers and students have yet to attain research capabilities, or their research products fail to meet the needs of the society and economy.
With 5 years of taking shape and striving, though our school remains small in scale, the number of individuals doing research is smaller than some other universities, our achievements have been gradually recognized by the society. The national and international conferences that we hosted or joined, the Vietnam Annual Economic Reports we release each year, and a number of studies published by some internationally reputable magazines have partly demonstrated that recognition.
After 5 initial years, the academic year 2012-2013 is a start of the second period for “taking of” with breakthrough achievements. Research achievements in this school year are the results of accumulation in the last year and a momentum for the school to develop in the next period. The road ahead will be so difficult and challenging that we will have to try more. I believe that our collective determination and consensus will certainly bring us to success.
- Can you describe the UEB during the last year in one sentence?
We overcame difficulties and challenges; we are aware of our goal and the development orientation thanks to our solidarity, determination and collective intelligence.
- Thank you! 

Luu Mai - Thu Loan

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