RMIT wins licence to operate in Vietnam

June 2, 2000

Melbourne

The Vietnamese government has issued an investment licence to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, allowing it to establish the country's first foreign private university.

RMIT International University Vietnam will be built on a 60-hectare site on the On Long River near the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Preparatory programmes will be offered next year and the university will officially open in 2003, with up to 10,000 students expected to enrol within ten years.

The decision to establish the Vietnamese institution as an accredited campus follows plans by Monash University to set up a separate Monash-owned university in South Africa.

David Beanland, RMIT vice-chancellor, said the Vietnamese university would be the first to be built "specifically for the cyber-generation". Professor Beanland said RMIT would use online technology to deliver industry-focused programmes to students on and off campus.

All courses would be accredited by RMIT in Melbourne and delivered by a majority of local staff in Vietnam, he said. "By combining new technology with the campus experience, RMIT International University has been chosen by the Vietnamese government to pioneer a totally new approach to the delivery of university education."

The Australian university hopes to attract investment capital of $50 million (Pounds 33.5 million) from commercial banks, multilateral development banks and private investors. RMIT will own 40 per cent of the new institution, 60 per cent will be held by other investors.

Professor Beanland said the Vietnamese university will initially focus on business and technology but that English-language teaching programmes will be available because courses will be delivered in English.

International students will be encouraged to study the Vietnamese language and culture. Vietnamese students will be able to transfer at certain points to RMIT courses in Melbourne, while Melbourne-based students will also be able to transfer between the two universities.

"This is a new university using new technology in a new millennium," Professor Beanland said. "It will profoundly influence the development of Vietnam as a skilled nation."

The waterfront campus in Ho Chi Minh City will be developed progressively, with the main campus building housing a library, learning resources and administrative services.

To encourage partnerships with industry for research and development, Professor Beanland said a number of institutes would be developed in association with each faculty.

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