Rethinking Engineering Education in Vietnam

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Participants enjoying an engineering training session in Da Nang, Vietnam

The challenges of the 21st century – including global security, health, sustainability and better quality of life – will require leaders to reconsider their approach to education. In addition to a solid preparation in the traditional science-centred engineering subjects, these leaders will need a deep understanding of non- technical issues and require training in thinking across academic disciplines, political boundaries, and time zones. In view of this, in February 2016, Temasek Foundation International (TFI), a non-profit philanthropic organisation funded by Temasek Trust, and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) have initiated a new partnership with the University of Da Nang, Vietnam (UD) on a training initiative that will impact engineering education there using the context of Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate (CDIO) framework. CDIO is an innovative educational framework applying engineering fundamentals in the context of conceiving, designing, implementing and operating real-world systems and products. It was originally conceived in the late 1990s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and has since evolved and adopted by an international network of about 127 universities and colleges worldwide.

Funded mainly by TFI, this three-year programme aims to share the CDIO learning framework with some 160 specialists in Da Nang, Vietnam. Within that group, a select 70 participants are also being trained to design an integrated curriculum, to conceive innovative new products and systems and to create active experiential learning experiences while evaluating programmes for continuous improvement. Thereafter, 20 of these participants will become qualified specialist master trainers. To further increase the impact of the programme, the specialist master trainers will then conduct training sessions for an additional 120 participants in Da Nang. Over the years, TFI has successfully organised other such CDIO engineering training programmes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Thailand and previously also in Vietnam in 2012, in Ho Chin Minh City.

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About the programme’s participating university

This CDIO framework will be adopted by the following universities and colleges in the University of Da Nang network, namely Da Nang University of Science and Technology, Da Nang University of Education, Da Nang University of Economics, Da Nang University of Foreign Language Studies, Da Nang College of Technology and Da Nang College of Information Technology, to transform the teaching and learning approach in higher education. The University of Da Nang is Viet Nam’s third largest regional university comprising 26 state universities.

About the programme’s curriculum

This programme consists of the following topics:
• Introduction to CDIO Teaching and Learning Framework
• Designing an Integrated Curriculum
• Conceiving and Designing Innovative Products and Systems
• Designing Active and Experiential Learning Activities
• Evaluating Programmes for Continuous Improvement
• Training Master Trainers on Programme Implementation
• Immersive Training for Master Trainers in Singapore Polytechnic

Did you know…

This CDIO programme is the 21st partnership between TFI and SP. In fact, these two organisations have been collaborating on various training initiatives in the region since 2008 in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.