Australia assists Vietnam strengthen quality assurance in online education
Online education in higher education is a global trend and, done well, can improve access and provide innovative ways to engage students in their learning. Yet some APEC economies, including Vietnam, remain uncertain about the quality, recognition and student experience aspects of qualifications delivered fully or significantly online.
Today, the Australian Government and Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training co-organised a consultation workshop in Hanoi to validate a toolkit developed to assist APEC countries with quality assurance in online education. The toolkit was first considered by 13 APEC economies, including Vietnam, in October 2016 and is now being road tested before seeking endorsement at APEC later this year. Vietnam is one of three countries receiving in-country assistance under the project.
The toolkit aims to promote a shared understanding of good practice and provide some practical tools for evaluating aspects of online delivery, for example, around teacher skills and integrity of assessment.
The workshop discussed Vietnam’s directions and challenges in accrediting online education and looked at how the toolkit might assist Vietnam strengthen its quality assurance processes. This assistance is especially timely for Vietnam which is currently developing guidelines on distance education. Vietnam, as host of APEC in 2017, has identified human resources in the digital age as one of its key strategic themes for the year.
In opening the consultations, Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Craig Chittick said, the Australia Government is committed to supporting Vietnam’s education reforms and noted that lifting quality and access goes to the heart of meeting Vietnam’s future human resource needs.
“The recent 2035 report concluded that to remain globally competitive and sustain economic growth, Vietnam must embrace innovation. Online education has the potential to offer more Vietnamese students access to internationally recognised qualifications without the cost of physically moving across borders and these developments present considerable opportunities for Vietnam and for Australian universities”, Mr Chittick said.
Workshop participants also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in Vietnam. TEQSA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Anthony McClaran, said the signing recognised the commitment the two organisations have to quality education.
“We are looking forward to working with the Vietnamese Government to assist in the quality of higher education globally, to broaden our reach in the region and to support the mobility of international students,” Mr McClaran said.