Vietnam, Netherlands Tighten Educational Cooperation for Sustainability
The project "Vietnam Climate - Educational cooperation to achieve sustainable change in Vietnam's delta regions" funded by the Dutch Government within the framework of the Dutch Knowledge Program (OKP) in the 2019 – 2023 period made many contributions to improving the quality of human resources and solving challenges in the context of climate change that Vietnam is facing.
According to the Country Report on Climate and Development for Vietnam published by the World Bank (WB) in 2022, with more than 3,200km of coastline, Vietnam is among the most vulnerable countries of climate change. According to a carefully researched scenario, when sea levels rise by one meter, Vietnam will likely lose 5% of its land area, especially in the Mekong Delta, threatening food security and the country's economy.
Besides, both of Vietnam's major deltas, the Mekong Delta and the Red River Delta, are facing many problems related to water resources.
To effectively and sustainably manage water resources, education plays an important role in training high-quality human resources capable of solving the challenges that Vietnam is facing in a changing climate context.
|Signing ceremony to hand over results of the project "Vietnam Climate - Educational Cooperation to achieve sustainable change in Vietnam's delta regions". Photo: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment|
Grasping that need, in 2019, the Dutch Government assisted Vietnam in implementing the project "Vietnam Climate - Educational Cooperation to Achieve Sustainable Change in Vietnam's delta regions" within the framework of framework of the Dutch Knowledge Program (OKP) with a four-year implementation period (2019-2023).
The goal of the project is to strengthen the capacity to develop educational degrees in General Water Resources Management and short-term courses for experts; strengthen organizational development capacity; and enhance capacity to better participate in the labor market.
According to Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands, Vietnam, and the Netherlands are facing similar challenges such as climate change, urbanization, industrialization, and subsidence. Both countries are located in vulnerable deltas, and many cities have difficulty providing clean water because salinity and pesticide residue make wastewater treatment more complicated. Therefore, solutions are needed now and in the future. And that's why education and research are so important.
However, currently, very few Vietnamese students choose to study water management. One of the main goals of the Dutch Knowledge Program (OKP) is to improve and attract students to study this field, cooperating together to expand teaching programs, undergraduate and master's training and improve capacity for staff in the industry.
Besides education, the second goal of the Program is research cooperation that will benefit both countries. Vietnam will learn from the Netherlands and the Netherlands will learn from Vietnam on water resources management and aims to accelerate the process of adapting to climate change. The third goal of the program is to improve links with the job market, helping students have good career opportunities when they graduate; dare to think and find new solutions and put them into practice.
|Students from Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment introduced the project's research products to the Dutch Ambassador in Vietnam Kees Van Baar. Photo: Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment|
Over the past 4 years, Vietnamese universities including the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment, Thuyloi (Water Resources) University, and the Institute of Natural Resources and Environment Training; along with Dutch universities including the Delft University of Technology, the University of Twente, and Utrecht University, have cooperated in undergraduate and postgraduate education on climate change adaptation and water resources management.
The project revolves around tertiary and higher education on climate change adaptation and water resources management, with a focus on practical skills, internships, career orientation, and personnel capacity building. It increases the quantity and quality of students studying in the water resources sector and ensures their future employment.
Specifically, OKP experts along with lecturers from the Water Resources Department of Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment have implemented many activities to improve research, teaching, and learning capacity through seminars to exchange in-depth research, field trips and outdoor experiments, and scientific research for students, and promotion activities about the Water Resources Management training program.
For Thuyloi University, OKP experts along with the school's lecturers and staff have implemented many activities to improve teaching capacity, scientific research, and field trips to build case studies, study tours at high-quality domestic universities, implementing participation in the QS Asia Rankings in Singapore, attending the QS-APPLE 2019 conference and exhibition in Japan's Fukuoka, communication products advertising recruitment for the water industry.
Speaking at the OKP closing ceremony in March 2023 in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan praised the positive contributions of the project over the past 4 years, despite facing many challenges, but its activities are still being implemented and achieving the set goals.
In particular, the cooperation between the two countries' universities has jointly improved the quality of education and the quality of the workforce on sustainable water resources management, who are capable of dealing with challenges facing Vietnam in the current context.
The Deputy Minister hopes that international cooperation and the results brought by the project will continue to be developed to further improve management capacity; and improve the quality of human resources in the natural resources and environment sector with the goal of contributing to the country's sustainable socio-economic development in the next period.
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