Education
Boosting economic growth through education, language skills
  • | VietnamNet | September 18, 2016 11:00 AM

Vietnam has put cross-border education as the centrepiece of its bilateral economic cooperation talks with the UK since the election of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc earlier this year.

Subsequent to his election, during a state visit from UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the two leaders held in depth discussions related to student mobility, joint universities and vocational training.

 

During the visit, the two governments reiterated their shared ambition to increase two-way student mobility and to support the goals laid out in a joint statement issued by the Vietnam Government, British Council and UK International Unit at the Vietnam-UK Education Cooperation Forum last year.

In addition, they agreed to accelerate the implementation of the Vietnam-UK University project – working towards the creation of a joint university by 2024 – and to expand cooperation in vocational training to develop the workforce of Vietnam.

Notably, Mr Hammond underlined the importance of education as it relates to solidifying the economic ties between the two countries, adding that although commercial trade between the two nations has been modest, improved education will serve as the springboard for expanded trade.

Education and overcoming the language barrier are arguably the most difficult challenges facing Vietnamese businesses that desire to export their brands to the UK, said Nguyen Thi Hong Thuy, Vietnam trade counsellor in the UK.

Speaking at a recent trade conference in Hanoi, she noted that if they can’t communicate effectively with their customers and team members, then that is a significant impediment to growing their brand in the UK.

Education and foreign language skills are pivotal to brand building and interrelated activities such as researching the UK market, communicating with counterparties and marketing products to British consumers.

She said the inability to communicate effectively is the primary reason most British customers only know about three Vietnamese brands – Vietnam Airlines, Saigon Beer and Buffalo Tours.

And the lack of Vietnamese ability to communicate is directly related to the fact that imports from Vietnam to the UK as a ratio of the total imports into the UK are less than one-half of 1%.

There is a huge potential for Vietnam brands to be successful in the UK market, she underscored, provided they can overcome the education, language and communication barriers.

Mr Saby Mishra, CEO of J Walter Thompson Vietnam, echoed Miss Thuy’s sentiments, at the conference saying Vietnam has many brands of sufficient quality that meet with the high requirements of the UK.

Coffee is one of those strengths in the UK, he noted, saying the potential for it to become a successful brand, is dependent, of course, upon an effective marketing and advertising campaign, which in turn requires a good understanding of the UK market and the English language.

Vietnamese businesses must pay particular attention to improving their English language, communication and interpersonal skills, to successfully develop their brands in the UK, said Mr Mishra.

There is no question that success of businesses in boosting their brands in the UK is a function of improved education and foreign language skills— and explains why Prime Minister Phuc has made it the centrepiece of his administration.

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