Vietnam looks to CDU to beat skills shortfall 


A recent visit to Vietnam by Chief Minister Clare Martin and Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Garnett has the potential to bring 150 PhD students to Charles Darwin University (CDU) during the next 15 years.

The Vietnamese Government wants to send 10 PhD students a year to CDU for the next 15 years to meet its education shortfall.

Marine geneticist Binh Thai, who heads up the Department of Scientific Research at the Vietnamese College of Fisheries, said his department currently lacked the expertise to operate key equipment, such as a recently acquired DNA scanner.

"Our government has been pouring money into equipment, but not the people," Dr Thai said. "We have all this equipment that nobody can use."

Dr Thai completed his PhD in molecular genetics at CDU last year and stayed on to work as a researcher, before returning to Hanoi last week.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Garnett said people such as Dr Thai were important for the Territory's growth.

"The students that we take on from overseas, particularly in the developing world, inevitably end up in senior positions of influence in their country," Professor Garnett said.

"If we can get the high-end market, particularly in the postgraduate degrees, you've got advocates of CDU and the NT in Vietnam," she said.

Prof Garnett was part of Chief Minister Clare Martin's recent delegation to Hanoi to meet senior Vietnamese officials, including Vice-Minister for Education and Training Tran Van Nhugn.

Dr Nhugn told Ms Martin that Vietnam was seeking to train 20,000 PhD students during the next 15 years and expressed an interest in CDU taking between 100 and 150 students over that time.

Ms Martin told Dr Nhugn that Darwin's comparable weather, multicultural atmosphere and proximity to Asia made it the ideal place to send students.

"The Vice-Minister showed a lot of interest in how (the NT and CDU) might be part of their aspirations to get higher qualifications," she said.