The slow pace of education reform in Vietnam gives rise for unique promotion opportunities for U.S. education providers

California ETEC has been a leading promoter of Vietnam as a key target market for U.S. education and training providers due to the size of the market and acute capacity development needs in-country.  In fact,  CA ETEC formalized cooperation with the U.S. government in 2011 to open a stand-alone center (VETEC™) to exclusively brand and promote U.S. education and support active student recruitment in Vietnam.    The timing of  VETEC™ -opening in Fall 2012 seems ideal.

Original article is linked below-

School stampede highlights Vietnam education woes

Posted: Jun 26, 2012 2:41 AM PDTUpdated: Jun 26, 2012 2:41 AM PDT

By MIKE IVES
Associated PressHANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Dao Quoc Huy and his wife joined other anxious parents camped outside Thuc Nghiem primary school at 3 a.m. When the sun came up, the crowd crushed against the metal entrance gate until it fell – hurdling bushes and losing flip-flops in a frenzied sprint to nab coveted application forms.The school is one of Vietnam’s only public institutions emphasizing American-style learning instead of rote memorization. Roughly 600 kindergartners from around the capital were vying for the 200-odd spots available this fall.”It’s like playing the lottery,” said Huy, 35, who hoped his daughter would be among the chosen. “We need luck.”

The recent stampede, which resulted in a few minor bruises but no arrests, underscores a problem experts say weighs heavily on Vietnam’s graying communist leadership: Nearly four decades after the Vietnam War, the country’s education system remains so corrupt and backward it’s impeding economic growth. And the rising middle class is now desperate for alternatives.

In this Confucian nation where education is a national obsession, schools at all levels are hampered by cheating, bribery and a lack of world-renowned programs and researchers. The result is a surging number of Vietnamese students are attending international-style private schools and later overseas colleges and universities.

Although average income here is just $1,400, more than 30,000 Vietnamese were studying at foreign higher learning institutions last year. Vietnam ranks fifth highest worldwide for its student enrollments in Australia, and eighth for enrollments in the U.S., placing it above Mexico, Brazil and France.

The number of Vietnamese studying in the U.S. has increased sevenfold from about 2,000 over the past decade. Most of the nearly 15,000 who were studying in the U.S. last year were not on scholarships to well-known schools, but instead attending community colleges paid by their families, according to the New York-based Institute of International Education.

Unlike universities in neighboring China where communist leaders enacted sweeping reforms in the 1980s, Vietnam’s schools are not keeping pace with an increasingly globalized world, experts say. The government has instead preserved a system promoting inefficient central management and a lack of critical thinking. Up to 10 percent of coursework remains devoted to the teachings of Marx, Lenin and late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh.

Vietnam’s educational model is “one size fits all,” and the country’s leaders “should have done more to make education one of its assets,” said Mai Thanh, a World Bank senior education specialist in Hanoi. “I see it as a missed opportunity.”

 

for the rest the article please click below:

http://www.newswest9.com/story/18879315/school-stampede-highlights-vietnam-education-woes?clienttype=printable

 

 

Re: Still no consensus on the use of study agents to recruit international students.

This article was originally published in the Chronicle of Higher Education on June 1st, 2012.

The topic of working with agents continues to engender controversy and likely will never be resolved.   CA ETEC has working relationships with credible organizations such as ICEF who match vetted agents with schools who wish to recruit through study abroad agencies.  It is also our belief that organizations such as AIRC are serving a benefit to schools by providing some baseline standards of ethical behavior for study agents.

California ETEC also believes that schools should consider non-agent recruitment options.    We have developed a number of customized recruitment options for U.S. institutions in Asia, particularly in China and S.E. Asia, and will open VETEC in Ho Chi Min City to provide U.S. schools alternative promotion and recruitment options .   * A new model of recruitment outside of the traditional methods of using study agents or participating in high cost, low yield study fairs

 

June 1, 2012

State Dept. Draws Criticism Over Policy on Paid Recruiters of Foreign Students

By Karin Fischer

Houston

The U.S. Department of State has overstepped its authority in issuing a policy against the use of paid recruiters for overseas students.

That was the charge made during a panel discussion on Friday, the final day of the annual meeting of Nafsa: Association of International Educators.

Mitch Leventhal is a founder of the American International Recruitment Council, or Airc, a group that develops standards of ethical practices and a system for certifying overseas recruiters. Federal law says that government agencies should defer to industry-based standards, unless those standards are illegal or otherwise impractical, Mr. Leventhal said at a session on the pros and cons of working with agents.

So when the State Department issued a 2009 policy directive prohibiting its overseas EducationUSA student-advising centers from forming partnerships or working with recruitment agents paid on a per-student basis, Mr. Leventhal argued, the department was wrongly superseding the authority of Airc, which is registered with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as a standards-development organization.

“We’re not a professional organization lobbying on behalf of a group. We’re not advocating on behalf of agents. We’re a standards-setting and regulatory body,” Mr. Leventhal said of Airc. He was the group’s first president and remains on its Board of Directors.

By setting a policy on agents for its overseas advisers, the State Department is establishing a “de facto standard” and has “directly undermined” Airc’s effort, said Mr. Leventhal, who is vice chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York. Agents hired by his and other institutions are barred from popular overseas EducationUSA fairs.

According to the law, the State Department has to submit a report to the White House Office of Management and Budget explaining why its policy should be followed in place of voluntary industry-set standards, Mr. Leventhal said. He asked whether the State Department had applied for and received a waiver from the White House office.

Reached for a response, Meghann Curtis, deputy assistant secretary for academic programs at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said that the department was aware that there is “a lack of consensus” on the use of agents. “Our directive to the State Department-funded EducationUSA centers applies to advisers within our network,” she said in a written statement. “To meet the State Department’s public-diplomacy mission, EducationUSA provides comprehensive information to international students about the entire range of accredited U.S. colleges, universities, and programs in our effort to help students find the best possible match with their abilities, needs, and interests. Working with commission-based recruiters is inconsistent with this public-diplomacy mission.”

A Competitive Disadvantage

While Airc’s standards were unanimously approved by its members, there is hardly consensus on the use of paid recruiters, an issue that remains one of the most contentious in international education and admissions circles.

Mr. Leventhal and others who favor the use of agents argue that, by paying and regulating foreign recruiters, American institutions have greater control of the process. (Paying agents to recruit American students is not permitted by federal financial-aid law.)

Agents on the ground can better serve students and their families because they know the culture and are part of the community, supporters of paying agents say. And, they argue, American colleges are put at a competitive disadvantage if they don’t hire recruitment agents because they are used so widely by countries like Britain and Australia.

For their part, the State Department and other opponents of the practice say it puts a profit motive ahead of students’ interests. It’s wrong to restrict student options to colleges that offer monetary incentives, the critics say, and agents chasing commissions could press students to enroll in institutions merely to make a quota. That could harm the reputation of American education abroad, they fear.

A commission organized by the National Association for College Admission Counseling is now examining the issue and will make recommendations on international-student recruitment. The association had considered a proposal to immediately bar its member colleges from using commission-based agents but opted instead to convene a panel.

David Hawkins, the group’s director of public policy and research and a panelist at Friday’s discussion, said the NACAC committee, which held its first meeting in March, is continuing its deliberations and will meet again formally in October.

The admissions group, he said, had entered into the debate over payments for agents because more and more of its members are recruiting international students.

“We were asked to get involved by our members,” Mr. Hawkins said. “Many of our members are being not asked but told by their college presidents to go out and get foreign students.”

He added: “This is not theoretical. It is not esoteric. This is a practical debate.”

 

VETEC™ launch announced at 2012 NAFSA Conference in Houston

California ETEC announced the opening of VETEC™ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at the recently concluded NAFSA Conference in Houston, Texas.    The Vietnam Education and Training Center or VETEC™ is a partnership between California ETEC and the U.S. Department of Commerce,  International Trade Administration.

The VETEC™ booth received strong interest from attending participants at the NAFSA Conference.    Many U.S. schools indicated the need for an organization such as California ETEC-directly supported by the U.S. government-  to provide in-country branding and promotional support to better compete against highly aggressive English speaking competitors from Australia, Canada, Singapore and the U.K.   VETEC™ expands upon California ETEC’s continuous efforts over the past eight years promoting U.S. Education in Vietnam, Thailand and S.E. Asia and seeks to be an integral resource for U.S. providers seeking to pro-actively engage the Region.

California ETEC will soon be announcing Grand Opening Kick Off Events.  Please visit our new VETEC™ webportal,   www.vetecusa.com, for further updates.

VETEC Booth at the 2012 NAFSA Conference, Houston, Texas