Work is about to start on Vietnam's first foreign-owned university after the Asia Development Bank agreed to pay $7.5 million (£5.3 million) towards the project.
The university is being established by Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The communist government of Vietnam agreed to license the institution a year ago. The RMIT will cover 40 per cent of the $50 million costs with the remaining 60 per cent being financed by foreign investors. The bank's contribution will enable construction work to start soon. The RMIT International University of Vietnam, as it will be called, is being built on the outskirts of Vietnam's capital, Ho Chi Minh City.
The campus will feature a main building, a multipurpose amenities block, public and recreational facilities and student and staff housing. Construction work is scheduled to be completed by 2003, although students have been enrolling for courses.
RMIT International University of Vietnam said it will offer a range of qualifications, including bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. Fields of study will range from technology to economics and natural sciences. The project is indicative of the communist regime's efforts to modernise the country's education system to provide the skilled workers required to staff a knowledge-based economy.