Viet Nam, Singapore have good chance of educational cooperation
Ha Noi (VNA) - Tharman Shanmugaratman, the Singaporean Education Minister, has said in an interview with a reporter from the Viet Nam News Agency that Viet Nam and Singapore have a very good chance of cooperating in education.
Speaking before the end of the 40th meeting of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) in Ha Noi, at which he was elected Vice President of the organisation, Minister Shanmugaratman said the first priority is given to making SEAMEO centres in every member country more efficient and to maximising opportunities for their improved performance.
He said if the resources of these centres are pooled, there will be additional benefits in addition to each member country's own efforts. He also pointed to the benefit of sharing experiences among member countries. He said, "we [he and Vietnamese Education Minister Nguyen Minh Hien] have been discussing the use of information technology (IT) in education. Many countries like Singapore have been ahead of others in applying IT in education. If we share our experiences, both successes and failures, with those countries that have just started the process, they will be able to avoid the mistakes we have made and maximise the benefits we have found."
In terms of bilateral cooperation in education, the Singaporean minister said, "Our cooperation in education has been very positive. I find that Vietnamese students have learned a lot of things in Singapore. They have added to the international dimension of our schools. We are happy to receive them. They work hard and blend in well in the Singaporean environment. Studying in an English-speaking environment like Singapore will prepare them for further studies elsewhere in the world. This will be to Viet Nam's benefit in the future."
"There are some areas of education where the two countries can expand cooperation. While talking to Minister Hien, we have the same desires and views on cooperation in those areas.
"First of all, we can link those schools which are of the same standards and which have students who want to exchange with their friends in another country. I think through this linkage, teachers and students of the two countries will benefit. The linkage exists in many forms, such as, the use of IT, the allowance of Vietnamese students to Singapore and Singaporean students to Viet Nam to live and stay for a while, and the sending of teachers to teach in either of the two countries. While teaching in a different environment, they can gain experiences from the country where they are teaching.
"We have an advantage, which is that we have the same philosophy in education. We are Oriental countries and our people are hard working and disciplined. Our students are serious about learning.
"Other possible areas of collaboration are activities outside classrooms, training of leadership, organisation of camps, sports and arts. These activities are important for the development of character and leadership styles."
"The third area of cooperation, in which our side is very interested, is granting scholarships to Vietnamese students from general education schools and universities, who want to study in Singapore. I have informed Minister Hien that we will increase the number of scholarships for eligible students.
"The final area of collaboration is research. Singapore can help and work with Viet Nam to do many things in this area. One example is research into the bird flu virus. Singaporean research institutions are willing to cooperate with the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Department of Animal Health in Viet Nam to decode the virus's gene. If decoded, it will help with the development of a vaccine against bird flu. Therefore, Singapore is very keen to work with Viet Nam in this area."/.
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