|National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ addresses the Việt Nam-New Zealand education cooperation forum held in Hamilton, New Zealand on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
HAMILTON — National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ on Monday expressed his hope that universities and educational institutions of Việt Nam and New Zealand will reach specific, direct cooperation agreements, helping to deepen the collaboration between the two countries.
Addressing an education forum held at the University of Waikato in New Zealand’s city of Hamilton, Huệ noted that since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1975, the Việt Nam-New Zealand relationship has been developing constantly, adding that the two countries set up a strategic partnership in 2020, making Việt Nam the only strategic partner of New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific.
Briefing participants on Việt Nam’s achievements, including those in education, the leader cited the World Bank’s forecast that about 3.5 million Vietnamese students will have demand for higher education by 2035, doubling the figure in 2019.
He affirmed that education is one of the most important cooperation areas in the implementation of the action programme realising the Việt Nam-New Zealand strategic partnership for 2021-2024.
There are about 2,000 Vietnamese students in New Zealand, and about 25 officials from Vietnamese ministries and agencies are sent to the country each year for training under a cooperation programme between the two nations, Huệ said.
The top legislator said within the framework of the visit to Việt Nam by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and the New Zealand Ministry of Education inked a cooperation agreement, which created a legal basis for the two sides to promote educational collaboration at different levels.
He also highlighted the significance of educational links to cooperation in other spheres.
According to the leader, out of more than US$435 billion in foreign direct investment in Việt Nam, some $5 billion has been injected into 500 education projects.
Many of the world’s leading universities have opened their facilities in the Southeast Asian nation, Huệ said, expressing his hope that more New Zealand universities will come to Việt Nam.
Highlighting Việt Nam’s great demand for education and training, Huệ said he hoped that the forum would open up a new period for educational cooperation between the two countries.
In his remarks, New Zealand’s former Governor-General and current Chancellor of the University of Waikato Anand Satyanand stressed that New Zealand wishes to bolster cooperation with countries in Indo-Pacific in trade, education and culture, and expects to restore and increase the number of Vietnamese students in the country as compared to the pre-pandemic level.
He viewed educational cooperation as an effective channel to enhance mutual understanding and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato Professor Neil Quigley, who is also President of the New Zealand-Việt Nam Friendship Association, emphasised the constant development of the bilateral educational ties, saying the Vietnamese government has fully supported educational cooperation programmes between the two countries.
Sharing Huệ’s view, the professor said there remains potential for Việt Nam and New Zealand to boost their educational cooperation.
Grant McPherson, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, also affirmed that education has remained a key cooperation area between the two countries, and that New Zealand attaches importance to the exchange of students.
Việt Nam is the only Southeast Asian country that has established cooperative ties with many major universities of New Zealand, which vividly demonstrates the good relationship between the two countries, he noted.
At the forum, Huệ and leaders of the University of Waikato witnessed the exchange of 10 memoranda of understanding on educational cooperation between the two countries’ universities, covering foodstuffs, agriculture, construction, economy, business administration, biology, scientific research, climate change and hotel management, among others.
On this occasion, the New Zealand-Việt Nam Friendship Association announced its re-establishment after a period of interruption. — VNS