I too wish acknowledge our students – both graduating and commencing , our graduates from the throughout the decade, their families, our colleagues and friends including the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Alistair Cox; the President of Hanoi University, Professor Dr. Nguyen Dinh Luan and the Vice President (Academic) of Hanoi University, Professor Le Ngoc Tuong. Professor Le has been instrumental in ensuring the ongoing success of the program and today we also welcome another significant contributor to this collaboration, the former President of Hanoi University, Professor Nguyen Xuan Vang, now the Head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Department of International Cooperation.
I am honoured bring greetings and best wishes for the celebration from the Victoria University Chancellor, Ms Di Foggo, our Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Elizabeth Harman, and our Vice President (International) Mr Andrew Holloway.
The high value that the Vietnamese people place on education and on language skills have been part of my life since 1996. For me, this high regard is symbolised in the ancient records engraved on the columns at Van Mieu. How impressive to live with this commemoration of over 1000 years of education and written language.
Victoria University, like our country, values its collaboration with Vietnam. Those of you who have visited our Footscray campus will know that the sound of the Vietnamese language is as common as English around the markets and shops in that area. We at VU value language education as the underpinning for intercultural understanding in our globalised societies. As well as significant teaching in English language and in the teaching of English language, we are now the only Australian university that provides a major stream of study in the Vietnamese language. We are strongly committed to a continuing role in teaching Australians to communicate in Vietnamese and also in supporting Vietnamese graduates to teach the English language to others.
This 10th anniversary of the teaching of the Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Hanoi University is an opportunity to reflect on the Vietnam-Australia relationship and on the future potential of our continuing relationship. The Master of TESOL program at Hanoi University is one of Victoria University’s most successful off shore programs producing more than 500 graduates in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City since 1999.
In 2009, 308 students are enrolled. This growth is a remarkable indicator of success for both universities, evidence of a well-organised program which delivers strong graduate outcomes and of the commitment by staff in both institutions to ensuring students have the support needed to successfully complete the masters degree.
On behalf of my university I wish to acknowledge the initiative of the School of Education in maintaining a commitment to the program, commencing with Professor Maureen Ryan who negotiated the relationship between the School of Education and Hanoi University and Ms Christine Riddell, the coordinator of the M TESOL in its first intakes. Their contributions were critically important in the first years of the program, especially in establishing the most appropriate curriculum and pedagogical settings for Vietnamese students.
More recently, the success of the program has been assured through the organisational leadership of Professor Brenda Cherednichenko and the knowledgeable and skilful contribution of Mr Martyn Brogan, the M TESOL program coordinator. Through Mr Brogan’s informed, systematic and committed activity, the M TESOL is growing in strength and serving as a solid foundation for further developments in the Hanoi University – Victoria University partnership.
I must also acknowledge the vital contributions of Hanoi University staff who have worked effectively in managing program marketing, student enrolments, inquiries from students and student progress: in Hanoi, Ms Nguyen Thai Ha; in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh Ha. They have been ably assisted by Mr Minh, Ms Lan and Ms Giang.
We at Victoria University wish to further develop our collaborative work with Hanoi University. For example, our School of Education is working with colleagues at Hanoi University on the introduction of a Doctor of Education program and I very much look forward to attending the first graduation of that program.
Finally I wish to congratulate the graduates, to welcome the commencing students and to thank all of my colleagues at both Victoria University and Hanoi University. You have all contributed to a remarkable program that truly symbolises our countries’ shared educational and social values.