HCM CITY (VNS) — Higher education worldwide is in a period of transition affected by globalisation and internationalisation which requires each institution to change or improve its leadership to ensure development, Dr Le Van Hao, head of Nha Trang University's Quality Assurance and Inspection Department, said.
Leadership and management should be clearly separated at some level in the context of higher education in Viet Nam, he told a two-day international conference on sustainable development of higher education that ended yesterday.
At Vietnamese universities, rectors and officials act as both leaders and managers, a mix of responsibilities that forces them to spend most of their time doing management work, according to Hao.
As a result, their devotion to leadership work such as building a vision and goals is often limited.
The separation does not mean that more people should be involved in either, just a proper separation of the tasks.
Ideally, rectors and deans should be seen as "leaders" and vice rectors or deputy deans should be regarded as "managers," he added.
After being affected by the centralised governance system for long, the leadership at most of universities in Viet Nam still appeared like a bureauracy, and this hindered the development of the entire higher education system, he said.
It was very important that leaders should be good communicators and active listeners, incorporate the ideas and thoughts of other members of the institution into a larger overall goal, and "know how to help the team members meet their personal goals," he said.
They should pay attention to the development of the locality where their institutions are situated and co-operation with other domestic and foreign institutions, he said.
There are many reports, papers, and research focusing on the limitations and challenges facing higher education in Viet Nam, especially on leadership and management, and they suggest changes that are possible at the institutional level.
The conference agenda also featured other topics like expectations in learning and teaching and creating links between institutions and communities/enterprises.
It was organised by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation's Regional Training Centre in Viet Nam and RMIT University Viet Nam. — VNS