Observations on the Current Status of Education in the Agricultural Sciences in Vietnam
According to the FAO, “Agricultural and rural development is considered a foundation for general economic development and the implementation of modernization and industrialization. Renovation in agriculture is the kick-start for Vietnam economic reform, creating solid background for rural development in general.” Further, “it is necessary to create a new industrialized and modernized rural structure through joint development of agriculture, industry, and services to provide jobs to people and to offer them appropriate standard of living without hunger and poverty.” In addition to providing for an adequate, safe and healthy food supply for the people of Vietnam , efforts are needed to develop agricultural products that meet international standards for export.
A key to agricultural development is a broad based system of education in the agricultural sciences. In the United States , land grant universities, established under the Morrill, Hatch and Smith-Lever Acts, link teaching, research and extension to provide for a comprehensive mechanism to educate people and solve problems in agriculture.
Recognizing the importance of agricultural education to the development of Vietnam , the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF)  identified the field of agriculture as a priority for its various programs. With that background, VEF has asked the U.S. National Academies  to provide an overview of the current state of education in the agricultural sciences in Vietnam . This project will be carried out with the cooperation and support of the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) .
The objective of this project is to develop an understanding of the current state of education in the agricultural sciences in Vietnam . The final product will be a report provided to VEF by the U.S. National Academies' site visit team summarizing its observations and recommendations . VEF will share this report with cooperating institutions and organizations in Vietnam .
Within the overall objective, we will seek to understand the following:
• how Vietnam establishes national and regional priorities for education in the agricultural sciences,
• the vision and strategic plans of institutions responsible for education in the agricultural sciences,
• the processes by which programs of education in the agricultural sciences are implemented,
• the processes by which education in the agricultural sciences is evaluated, and
• the scope of research and extension at agricultural universities and their relationship with the education process.
Dr. Phuong Nguyen, project coordinator for VEF, will gather background information on four leading universities in the agricultural sciences in Vietnam . These universities include: Hanoi Agricultural University , Thai Nguyen University , Nong Lam University , and Can Tho University. Background information will include t he overall organization and demographics of these institutions.
In September 2006, a group of four distinguished faculty from U.S. agricultural universities will visit Vietnam . The list of participants is found at the end of this document. During the visit, the team will meet with senior government officials and with senior administrators and faculty from the four leading universities in the agricultural sciences. Through a series of interviews and discussions, the team will obtain information on the following topics:
• The mission of these agricultural universities
• The relationship of the academic programs to national agricultural needs
• The relationship of the academic programs to international agricultural needs
• The system for development of the courses of study and the curricula of those courses of study
• Criteria for admitting students at the undergraduate and graduate levels
• The system of measurement of learning outcomes
• The quality of students education in comparison to international standards
• Comparative aspects of undergraduate and graduate education
• The placement of graduates in the workforce
• The scope of research activities supporting education
• The scope of extension-type activities  supporting education
• The scope of partnerships with industry and other technology transfer activities
• The extent of international partnerships in education and research
• The major sources of funding for agricultural education
• The major opportunities for agricultural education in the future
Following the September 2006 visit, the team of U.S. experts will prepare a report for VEF. This report will summarize their observations, and will inform VEF of opportunities for supporting various aspects of education in the agricultural sciences. In addition, the team will recommend opportunities for partnerships between Vietnamese and U.S. agricultural universities. The report will be provided, through VEF, to participating officials and institutions as well as to cooperating organizations.
Dr. Neal Van Alfen, Dean, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California – Davis
Dr. J. Scott Angle, Dean and Director, College of Agriculture and Environmental, Sciences, University of Georgia
Dr. Andrew G. Hashimoto, Dean and Director, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii
Dr. Jaw-Kai Wang, Professor of Bioengineering and Aquaculture, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii
Dr. Ray Gamble, Director, Fellowships Office , U.S. National Academies
Dr. Lynne McNamara, Director of Programs, VEF
Dr. Phuong Nguyen, Consultant, VEF Agricultural Education Project
 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: http://www.fao.org.vn/vn-progE.htm
 For more information on VEF, visit the website: http://www.vef.gov
 For more information on the National Academies, visit the website: http://www.nationalacademies.org/nrc/
 Extension activities are defined as activities organized by the university and developed for the public domain outside of the academic institution. For example, a university may prepare and distribute information pamphlets on improved agricultural techniques for specific populations in Vietnam .
Next page: VEF Agricultural Education Team's Bios