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French training universities in Asia-Pacific highlight social responsibility

HCM CITY — Besides training students and doing research, universities also have the responsibility of offering solutions to major social problems in their country, Prof Jean-Paul de Gaudemar, rector of  the Agence universitaire de La Francophonie, has said.

AUF is a society of universities world-wide offering training in French.

Universities often ask what the Government does for them but not what they should do for the country’s development, Gaudemar told a press briefing held by the Regional Conference of Rectors of the Member Universities of the AUF in Asia Pacific region (CONFRASIE). CONFRASIE was set up in 1999 to bring together leaders of higher education and research institutes in the region to co-operate for educational development. 

Not knowing how to discharge their social responsibility is one of the challenges universities face and need to resolve, he said.

The CONFRASIE’s 13th meeting on Wednesday was held at the University of Economics and Law under the Việt Nam National University-HCM City

Assoc Prof Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Điện, chairman of CONFRASIE, told Việt Nam News: “Most universities have defined their social responsibilities based on their capacity.”

Many offer training on a large scale to first meet employers’ needs while others pay attention to scientific research which could “lead society”, he said.

But he said all face a common challenge: how to carry out their social responsibilities including ensuring training quality while depending on their own resources.

“Improving training quality requires learners to try their best to meet their universities’ requirements, leading to creating a pressure for learners.

“This pressure could make universities unattractive to learners, leading to difficulties in enrollment and finances.”

Moreover, universities face drastic competition since the number of new private universities has increased, he added.

Gaudemar said besides competing they should also collaborate for development.

In the past only talented people went to university but now anyone could do it and so universities should offer a diverse range of programmes suitable for everyone, he said.

They should train their students to meet society’s needs, he added.

At the CONFRASIE’s 13th meeting on Tuesday held at the University of Economics and Law under the Việt Nam National University-HCM City, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyễn Văn Phúc said that Vietnamese universities also face the same challenges.

For the country’s development, it is very important how universities’ training and research meet socio-economic development needs, he added.

(Source: Vietnam News)


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