|Professor Nguyễn Đình Đức (centre) and his students. — Photo baotintuc.vn|
Professor Nguyễn Đình Đức, lecturer of Hà Nội National University, speaks to the Vietnam News Agency about measures to attract talented people to work for education establishments.
As one of the world’s top 10,000 scientists, you have received many invitations to work for education establishments inside and outside the country. What do you think are factors that help education establishments attract talented people?
I think talented people find it easy to apply to work for education establishments as well as businesses inside and outside the country. So if a university does not have preferential policies with high salaries to ensure good living conditions for lecturers, it will be hard for them to draw talent.
Apart from salary, research environment is also very important. In fact, many universities at present have resources to support talented people but they have yet implemented support policies due to obstacles relating to mechanisms and policies. Universities themselves need to have dynamic policies to attract talents. Currently, there is no boundary for working environments so scientists abroad can still work with domestic universities while scientists in Việt Nam can work as visiting professors for universities in other countries. It does, however, require heads of education establishments to acknowledge that current resources are not natural resources but talented people. Universities, therefore, need to soon renovate and become self-autonomy if they want to attract talented people.
Can you share why you chose to work at the Hà Nội National University?
I graduated with a PhD when I was young and had opportunities to work abroad. My field of study is new composite which is widely applied not only in science but also in national defence. Choosing to stay abroad to work or return to the country was hard for me at that young age with dreams and ambitions.
Learning from examples of famous professors, I found that in order to succeed, they did not only have talent but also ideals to devote to the country. Therefore, I wished that what I had learned could contribute to the country’s development.
After nearly 40 years working in this field, going through many difficulties and challenges with some periods I thought I could not overcome, but with determination and passion, I have become a teacher with many excellent students. I built a lab for advanced structural materials, set up the training programme for Scientific and Technical Engineers and established the Major in Infrastructure Engineering and the Major in Automation at the Hà Nội National University.
I think, educating the young generation about the love for the home country is important to help them have more trust and motivation to devote to the country. I want to tell young people that if you have passion and ambitions, you still can have many opportunities to develop and prove yourself and devote to the country when you return in spite of difficulties.
I also hope that in the future, universities will have more opportunities to attract talented people with innovation and self-autonomy policies. And young people will have many opportunities to work for universities in Việt Nam in a working environment as good as that of education establishments abroad.
The story of “brain drain” and that many lecturers who were sent abroad for training did not return to the country are not new but still of great concern to people. What are your thoughts on this?
The “brain drain” happens not only in Việt Nam but also in countries with low development levels and low rates of income. We have to accept that and consider it as a natural law in the process of development and movement.
In the current context, we need to rethink “what is brain drain?”. Being Vietnamese people, wherever you are, you still head towards the country with love and enthusiasm, you still can contribute to the country. Many overseas Vietnamese have been making great contributions to the country. Thanks to the advancement of science and technology, the world now is a smaller place. A scientist abroad can still contribute to the country as domestic scientists.
In order to draw Vietnamese scientists abroad to participate in training and research activities in Việt Nam, what State policies are needed?
There are many lessons from surrounding countries that have attracted talented people successfully. Việt Nam needs to create conditions for people to study abroad while having policies to draw them back to develop the country.
Việt Nam has policies to attract talented people but these policies are implemented slowly. So it is initially needed to complete related institutions and policies, and then find resources. The State resources are limited so it is necessary to mobilise resources from businesses and education establishments.
It is also essential to promote links between the State, schools, businesses, and scientists, build a good working environment, and invest in building groups of excellent researchers to attract scientists. VNS