Education Dean Lectures in Vietnam on Education Reforms, Liberal Arts in ASEAN

Education Dean Lectures in Vietnam on Education Reforms, Liberal Arts in ASEAN

Dean of the College of Education Dr. Earl Jude Paul L. Cleope gave a lecture at two prestigious universities in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on April 8.

He delivered a talk on “Education Reform Imperatives in ASEAN Integration” at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH), Vietnam National University in the morning of April 8. In the afternoon, he spoke at Hoa Sen University (HSU), a private university, on “Liberal Arts Education in Asian Universities”.

His lectures at both universities were attended by professors and some administration officials.

At USSH, Dr. Cleope highlighted the role of the education sector in materializing the goals of ASEAN integration.

“Essentially, the education sector is the key that will ensure that each member state will be ready for ASEAN integration. This sector assumes the critical function of developing human resources who will play vital roles in the envisioned regional community,” he said.

Dr. Cleope said the education sector needs to understand the challenges and imperatives of ASEAN 2015 on educational delivery “so that the educational system can respond to the challenges by developing globally competitive and sustainable schools, colleges, and universities.” This, as ASEAN integration, he stressed, “requires our education system’s participation in mutual recognition agreements and requirements.

At HSU, Dr. Cleope reinforced how “liberal arts education endows students with the ability to think broadly across a range of subjects, enabling them to think outside the box.”

“State-run institutions traditionally take a pragmatic pre-professional approach to higher education, training students in highly specialized fields for focused careers. Recently however, these institutions have begun to discover that such curricula may be more of a limitation than a help as graduates seek competitive jobs in globalized markets,” he explained.

Dr. Cleope said Asian countries have begun to see value in reinforcing their own institutions of higher education by introducing the liberal arts into their technical and vocational programs.

“They’re recognizing that a well-rounded education not only brings personal enrichment; it produces creative, flexible, critical-thinking professionals capable of success in any number of fields,” he added.

The lectures of Dr. Cleope at USSH and HSU formed part of Silliman University’s expanded linkage program in ASEAN countries. USSH and HSU are two of the University’s institutional partners in Ho Chi Minh, with memoranda of understanding signed late last year as an offshoot of the University’s international recruitment and linkage program. The third partner of Silliman in Ho Chi Minh is the University of Economics.