Hanoi – A joint Vietnamese-German university, the first such collaboration between the two countries, has opened in Ho Chi Minh City, its director said Thursday. Wolf Rieck, president of the Vietnam-Germany University, said the school would initially offer degrees in civil and electrical engineering. The university is owned by the Vietnamese government.
“This is only the start,” Rieck said. “The master plan of the university follows the line that we build up master courses in business administration, health care and so on.
“The university opened as foreign manufacturers operating in Vietnam’s fast-growing economy complained of a severe shortage of skilled employees and said Vietnamese universities are not producing enough well-trained engineers.
A working paper issued in April by foreign manufacturers at the Vietnam Business Forum called for easier licensing for foreign educators in Vietnam as one of its top priorities.
At a ceremony Wednesday celebrating the university’s opening, Education and Training Minister Nguyen Tien Nhan said the school would “become a new model for the tertiary education system of Vietnam.
“The prime minister of the German state of Hesse, Roland Koch, who is visiting Vietnam, told Vietnamese media Monday that his state would contribute 1.5 million euros (2.12 million dollars) per year to the university’s operating costs, the same amount the German federal government plans to contribute.
Rieck, formerly president of the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt am Main, said the university had accepted 70 students for its first semester but planned to expand the student body to 3,000 by 2020. The students are to spend their first year bringing their English up to a sufficient level to follow an engineering curriculum in English, which is to begin next year.
Rieck is the first foreign director of a state-owned university in Vietnam. The school is to follow a German-accredited engineering curriculum. Unlike domestic Vietnamese universities, students are not to be required to take political courses in subjects such as Ho Chi Minh Thought.