Cultivating Talented Individuals

Social Integration and Networking

Cultivating Talented Individuals:Support Scheme:Investigative Research Assistance (for student)

Nguyen Thuy Anh / Investigation Area: Hanoi, Vietnam


Affiliation: GSAPS, Waseda Uni.
Year: 3rd year
Itinerary: 08/02/2009-09/25/2009(Month/Date/Year)

Destination (Name of city and country)

Hanoi, Vietnam

Research Objectives

The main purpose of this trip is to interview and conduct a questionnaire survey with students, faculty members and administrators at Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) on their perceptions, evaluation and expectation about the internationalization process which is taking place at this institution.

Another objective of the trip is to collect data and information on relevant policies, programs/activities related to internationalization of Vietnam's higher educational system in general and VNU and its member institutions in particular.

Research Project

Internationalization of Higher Education in Vietnam: The Case of Vietnam National University, Hanoi

Since the last two decades, globalization has become an irreversible and the most influential process which takes place in almost all fields of the human life and undoubtedly education is also one of these impacted sectors. While globalization is seen as an objective and unalterable process, internationalization is considered a response of countries and higher educational institutions all over the world to this process.

Together with internationalization, regional cooperation and integration in higher education have become an emerging trend in many parts of the world. The past ten years have witnessed increasing interdependence among East Asian countries, as seen, for example, in the ASEAN + 3 process, especially in economic integration and policy collaboration. However, in the field of higher education, compared to other regions of the world, East Asia is lagging behind in creating and promoting the basic level of regional integration and policy harmonization to achieve common objectives and interests. In order to accelerate this process, in addition to learning from experiences of other regions, especially the Europe, it is necessary for East Asia to look into the case of each specific member country as well as its higher education institutions so as to have insightful understandings of one country's educational system, its strategy, plans, aspirations as well as problems and challenges in the internationalization of higher education. Only when being well equipped with deep and comprehensive knowledge about "who is doing what?" of countries and institutions in the region, can researchers and policy makers have suitable decisions, strategies, programs and activities appropriate for the whole region to further promote the process of higher education integration.

Although there has been a significant increase in research on internationalization of higher education, so far most of them focus mainly on examining and analyzing this process in Western countries and institutions and little attention has been paid on investigating the internationalization in Asian countries, especially at the institutional and individual level.

The purpose of the study is to study how internationalization of higher education is perceived and implemented in Vietnam at the institutional level in which it takes the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) as a case study. More specifically, it will examine the perception, rationales, strategies, benefits, risks, obstacles and priorities of the internationalization of higher education in Vietnam from the perspectives of different actors namely the administrators, faculty members and students who are not only the main driving forces of but also directly influenced by this process. The study assumes that different actors depending on their educational, disciplinary and institutional background will vary in the awareness and expectation toward the internationalization. Another assumption the research makes is that based on the institutional history and tradition, capacity and characteristics, member institutions of VNU will differ from each other in terms of the motivations for internationalization, the risks or challenges they are faced with and the difficulties and obstacles they have.

The study uses both qualitative and quantitative methodology. For the qualitative methodology, the author interviews with key informants representing each group of students, faculty members, administrative staff and senior administrators from each member institutions of VNU. In the quantitative method, a questionnaire survey was conducted with these actors and data were analyzed using descriptive, chi-square and scale test.


In the first part of the research trip, from August 9 to August 12, I attended an international conference in Nhatrang at the Nhatrang University. The main theme of this conference was "Branding in Higher Education: Practices and Lessons Learned from Global Perspectives". This event serves as a forum for both international and local participants who are educational leaders, administrators, experts and professors to exchange viewpoints and experience in the implications for branding in higher education, quality assurance and accreditation, and practices and lessons learned from global perspectives. Via this conference, I had a chance to discuss and establish relationships with scholars, researchers and practitioners domestically and internationally. This was a precious opportunity for me to share research interests as well as build up network in the field.

From August 13 to September 24, I conducted the interview and questionnaire survey with students, faculty members, administrative staff and senior administrators of VNU and its member institutions.

During this time, I interviewed with 71 informants including 20 senior administrators, 13 faculty members, 5 foreign faculty members and senior administrators, 9 administrative staff and 30 students representing almost all member institutions of VNU. Individual interviews were conducted with senior administrators, faculty members, administrative staff and some students, while a focus-group technique was used with the majority of the interviewed students. Most of the interviews were taped and transcribed in Vietnamese and English (in only one case, notes were taken as the interviewee was reluctant to be recorded during the interview). The transcripts of these interviews consist of 300 pages.

From August 20 to present, I have been carrying out a questionnaire survey with students, faculty members and administrative staff of VNU by paper based and online surveys. The responses received so far have been 1,089 and is expected to slightly increase in the coming few days before the survey is closed.

In addition to conducting interviews and questionnaire survey, I collected data, information and policy documents pertaining to internationalization of higher education and educational development from the Ministry of Education and Training, VNU and its member colleges.

The research trip was very fruitful and helpful for my research in the sense that it helps me have and insightful understanding of the internationalization which is taking place in Vietnam in general and VNU in particular. Results so far have revealed that different actors from different disciplines and institutions perceive and expect differently from this process. Also each member college although under the same umbrella of VNU is faced with various challenges and difficulties in realizing and implementing internationalization. Therefore, policies, strategies and plans related to internationalization of the whole organization should carefully take into consideration the specific context and status of each particular institution so as to attain good outcomes, better satisfy the needs and desires of the students, faculty members and administrative staff, as well as appeal for better commitment and involvement from these key actors.

Confirmed by person in charge of project promotion