VNU-UET: Innovative Decisions and the role of Excellent Individual

On the foundation ceremony of VNU-UET (25/05/2004-25/05/2016), VNU-UET news kindly introduces the interview with Academician. Professor Dao Trong Thi- Former President of Culture-Education-Youth Commission of National Assembly; Former President of Party Communist Committee of Vietnam National University, Hanoi and Former President of Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU, Hanoi) which is published in "VNU-UET’s Yearbook: 15 years of building and development ".

Prof., please let us know about the initiative and preparation steps in the roadmap to establish VNU-UET?
In 1993, the Government launched the Decision to set up VNU, Hanoi in reunifying 03 big universities in Hanoi known as the University of Hanoi (Trường Đại học Tổng hợp Hà Nội, Hanoi National University of Education and VNU University of Languages and International Studies. At first, VNU, Hanoi has basis faculties and plans to merger other universities specializing in technical-economic field in Hanoi for the multi-diversified and multi-disciplinary direction. Leaders and staffs of VNU, Hanoi actively implements the direction of the Government.
However, afterwards, we found that the merger is difficult and ineffective because the Vietnamese universities are uni-disciplinary and specialized and their quality is not unified. Therefore, if we follow this direction, the investment is distributed and the objective to build the multi-disciplinary university with high quality cannot be achieved.
Eventually, leaders of VNU, Hanoi decided to set up the new institutions with the profession other than basic science, social humanity and foreign languages by the way to select the more applied and technical units under the Hanoi University of Science, University of Social Science and Humanity to build the new universities.

Which are the expectations of VNU, Hanoi about VNU-UET?
To set up one university, it is necessary to build the faculties first. The faculties are specific institutions under VNU, Hanoi because the institutions are equivalent administratively universities but they do not have full functions, missions, powers as universities. After the establishment and full development, the faculties will become new university member of VNU, Hanoi. VNU-UET follows this process and satisfies the expectations of VNU, Hanoi leaders for building one multi-disciplinary university.

Prof., what is the reason why leaders of VNU, Hanoi select the field of technology, not law or economics?
Firstly, VNU, Hanoi, even the University of Hanoi have has law and economics as study fields but at the faculty level under the University of Hanoi and later under VNU University of Social Sciences and Humanities while there are some departments relating to technology. To build a multi-disciplinary university, it is necessary to set up the VNU-UET.
Secondly, leaders of VNU, Hanoi are scientists and managers of basic science departments so they have good command of science.
Finally, we invest more in VNU-UET because we have experience in set up law or economics institutions.

Please indicate the challenges for the establishment of VNU-UET?
Faculty under VNU, Hanoi is very typical and specific model because VNU, Hanoi has 02 layers: VNU level and University member level. Therefore, Faculty under VNU, Hanoi is administratively equivalent to but has not full functions, mission, and powers as university member, which shows the autonomy of VNU, Hanoi. All university members have the same set-up process, set-up of faculty under VNU, Hanoi first and establishment of university member later.
The first difficulty in set-up of technology faculty under VNU, Hanoi is that no institution of university member is named with technology. The College of Technology is set-up with the unification of separate departments of Mathematics or Physics Faculty and related to Informatics, Electronics and Telecommunication.
Moreover, we do not have personnel and organization. So the College of Technology has the new personnel and organization, operation.

Prof., how do you “overcome” the difficulties?
The crucial point is that we have Academician Prof. Nguyen Van Hieu. He is very famous physician of Vietnam. Because he quits the position of the president of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, he has the time to be the first Rector of College of Technology. So we have a professor of applied physics. Moreover, thanks to his reputation, we attract many scientists of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology to work for College of Technology. It is the good sample of cooperation between VNU, Hanoi and Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. I can say for sure that without him, we do not have the high solidarity, which is one of the successes of the College of Technology.

On the occasion of 10th Anniversary of the College of Technology, which are your opinions?
VNU-UET becomes the new university member, has spent the period of development and gains many good results. First of all, VNU-UET has more 02 faculties (Faculty of Engineering Physics and Nanotechnology and Faculty of Engineering Mechanics and Automation). It means that VNU-UET has more profession relating to high technologies like new material, automation, etc. In my opinion, the profession structure of VNU-UET is basically complete. In the future, we do not need to extent the profession; we should build up VNU-UET as Research University based on the development of high quality research and training. Research University will be the direction of VNU-UET.

Thanh Binh (interviewer)

Translated by Phan Quoc Nguyen