TNE impact case study: The first public Vietnamese university established in binational cooperation

Vietnamese-German University (VGU)
Collaboration type:
Joint University
SDG Goals:
(4) Quality Education, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (17) Partnerships for the Goals
Vietnam, Germany, Hesse
Susanne Kammüller - Senior Expert Transnational Education DAAD

Background and overview of the case study

Jointly supported by the governments of Vietnam, the German Federal state of Hesse and Germany, the Vietnamese-German University (VGU) has been the first public Vietnamese university established in a binational cooperation. The overall objective of the joint university is to create an autonomous research-oriented HEI in Vietnam based on the German university model with a focus on technology, its scientific bases and its embedding in society. The German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD and the German Committee of the World University Service support and advise the VGU.

A consortium of German universities constitutes the academic backbone of VGU. Its members introduce their own programmes with German degrees in Vietnam with a focus on engineering and economics. The teaching load is initially taken by German fly-in faculty and then gradually handed over to VGU staff, whose hiring criteria include qualifications equivalent to those for a professorship in Germany. About 20% of the teaching remain with the German university. The transition is completed by successful accreditation of the, then, VGU programme according to Bologna standards in Germany and the introduction of a joint or double degree with the German partner institution. 

VGU opened in 2008 with about 35 students in a preparatory foundation course taught in rented facilities in Ho Chi Minh City. From there, it has continuously expanded its operations to, to date, 14 undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in engineering, computer sciences/information technology and economics for about 2.000 students as well as a PhD programme. VGU is expected to grow to 5.000 students with a further enhanced course portfolio by 2030. With this perspective, VGU will move to its new campus (financed by a 180 Mio USD World Bank Loan) with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research in Binh Duong province in mid-2022.

Impact and value

VGU was founded as part of a greater move for the modernisation and quality enhancement of Vietnam‘s HE sector. Through its study programmes, research and the implementation of self-governing structures modelled on those of the German partner universities, VGU forms a show case within the Vietnamese public HE sector and contributes to the realisation of SDG 4 by providing quality HE to its students and giving impulses to the ongoing debate in Vietnamese politics and academia on the concept and realisation of HE quality and autonomy in Vietnam.

Several degree programmes of VGU are directly linked to the realisation of SDGs, among them Water Technology, Reuse and Management (SDG 6) from Technical University Darmstadt. Others provide indispensable knowledge and skills for the realisation of SDGs, for example SDG 8 with Global Production Engineering of Technical University Berlin, Civil Engineering (Biberach University of Applied Sciences) or an MBA focussed on small and medium enterprises (Leipzig University). The course portfolio is complemented by a research strategy which defines the focal areas for research activities in Sustainable Manufacturing (SDG 12), Sustainable Urban Development and Transportation (SDG 9, 11) and Environment, Water and Climate Change Adaptation (SDG 6, 7, 9,13).

As an HEI, the impact of the transnational collaboration at VGU lies mainly in the transfer, dissemination and production of relevant knowledge with multiple impact (SDG 17). By setting up and then transferring their own study programmes to the VGU, the German partner HEI contribute to a lasting structural enhancement in the Vietnamese system, provide students in Vietnam with innovative knowledge, skills and competencies and enable graduates to take over responsible positions in key areas of the Vietnamese economy. Local as well as international businesses and communities profit from the application of the knowledge and skills through innovative products, better infrastructure and sustainable economic growth. 

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