CMC University and the orientation of becoming the leading digital university
Despite the rush in preparation, with works carried out in the difficult context of the pandemic, on 17 November 2022, the Launching Ceremony of CMC University - the first Digital University of Vietnam and the Opening Ceremony of Intake 1 were still solemnly held. This is an important start in the development of the University, marking the first official launch of CMC University as a pioneering digital university.
For the first intake, the University admitted 345 students to 5 majors: Information Technology, Business Administration, Graphic Design, Japanese Language and Korean Language.
With the orientation of developing from a "smart and innovative University" in 2022-2032 to a "research university" from 2033 and to a "world-class university" from 2014, the University's top goal is to become a technological university with strengths in Computer Science, Information Systems, Electronics - Telecommunications, and other majors associated with the requirements of science, technology and digital economy development of the country, training from 20 to 30 thousand students in 2043.
Meeting international standards in every detail
I met Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Binh, PhD -President of CMC University in the last days of May, when students of the first intake were about to finish the spring semester of their first year, and the University was busy with the enrollment of the second intake with many new expectations.
To Mr. Binh, the first days of CMC University were difficult, as it was newly established and not many people heard of its name, so everything must be started from scratch and were very challenging.
Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ngoc Binh, PhD - President of CMC University
“However, being new means we can learn from the experience of our predecessors and apply the most advanced ones. Since its birth, CMC University aims to provide an international standard training environment. To do that, we have to ensure that each and every detail, from the chair, the table, the classroom, etc. meets the standards of international schools," said Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh.
Also according to Mr. Binh, as a pioneering digital university, CMC University is deploying digital management, digital teaching and learning, and digital life for both lecturers and students.
With digital teaching and learning, students are exposed to digital materials and new technologies, such as e-learning, virtual learning, AR/VR, etc. On the other hand, with digital life, they benefit from digital services and utilities as well as remote access via portals, digital library, communication methods, etc. the moment they set foot in the University.
Regarding curricula, all programs follow international standards with 100% English technical textbooks and several Vietnamese reference books for freshmen who are yet proficient with specialized terms, in order for them to easily compare and look up.
Talking about the up-to-date nature of these curricula and training programs in the context of technology changing every day and every hour, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh said that the University always strived to purchase and import the latest versions of training programs (which also means the most expensive ones) and cover the expenses for lecturers to update changes in the syllabi and curricula from the authors and publishers. Before each academic year, the University always instructs its lecturers to review and select the latest textbooks to use.
"For established universities, changing curricula can be difficult. But for a new establishment like us, it is easier to make selections and changes in order to introduce the most advanced training programs," said Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh.
Closing the gap between academia and business
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh recounted that about 20 years ago, when he was working at Hanoi University of Science and Technology, some companies complained that the graduates they recruited had to be "retrained" to work for them.
Right at that time, he did not agree with the so-called "re-training". But it's true that there is a relatively huge gap between academia and businesses, and the concerns about training quality are a fact even now.
"That process is not "re-training" but "additional training", which usually takes quite a long time, from 6 months to a year", said Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh.
"For example, we are sorely lacking IT personnel. Statistics show that in developed countries, there must be 5% of population working in the IT industry. For Vietnam, the shortage is about 90%, i.e about 4 million people. But if we rush to train people, we can only meet the requirement of quantity, not quality. There is a phrase used to describe that situation: “IT garbage”. Therefore, training quality must be seen as a vital factor," he added.
With its university-within-enterprise model, CMC University can solve the problem of "additional training", since all of its training programs are not only academic and advanced, but also practical and associated with businesses. Professional modules are often involved officers in charge of technology or management of the Corporation's member companies in the teaching, who will discuss with and pass down their experiences to students both in class and in practice.
Minister of Education and Training visits and works with CMC University
Students go on field trips right from their first year. During the training process, one semester is saved for students to work in a company and experience practical works. Of course, they will also be paid for the works they have done.
"Lecturers at CMC University also pay attention to applied research to come up with products right away. We also encourage basic research, but the funding for practical and applied research is prioritized", said Mr. Binh.
To answer the question of whether CMC University is just providing "vocational training" to its students, Mr. Binh emphasized that if vocational training means teaching learners to know how to do something, then training engineers means teaching learners how to create something that people are using or will use.
"Our point of view is that our students know not only how to do but also how to create. This is also one of the core values of the University. There are many freshmen who have potential to join research groups at CMC-ATI and face challenges to methodically do research", Mr. Binh affirmed.
As a veteran in the education sector as well as at both domestic and international universities and research centers, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh emphasized that to a training institution, in addition to good facilities, people are the key factor.
"A good school must have good teachers and goods students in order to produce good engineers and academics," he said.
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Binh also added that, one of the most important tasks of the University is to attract highly-qualified teachers whose names have been known in the country as well as overseas to teach at the University. Many modules of its training programs are being taught by leaders and leading engineers of big technology firms.
In addition, the University also opens its doors to young lecturers by applying a strict yet open and transparent recruitment process.
CMC University students benefit from a high-quality educational environment
“At CMC University, young people don't have to be afraid of being in the shadow of the experienced seniors. We encourage them to define themselves by their abilities and strengths", said Mr. Binh.
"Human-centered" is one of the University's core values, and also what makes its president toss and turn. In his words, in the last academic year, "the University has tried to understand the situation and circumstances of each student" to quickly provide support when they need it. For example, the English skills of some freshmen are not very well, and they also encounter a lot of difficulties learning the language. Therefore, the University assigns lecturers to help them, so that they can catch up with their training programs.
"Lecturers and students are the real messengers of the University", claimed Mr. Binh when he talked about the early days of CMC University.
With a "human-centered" viewpoint, leaders of CMC Corporation always seek to attract excellent students, and the "CMC- Because you deserve it" scholarship fund was established for that purpose. From 62 billion in VND, the fund has provided 92 billion VND of grants in this year to support excellent students of disadvantaged background. Those students are entitled to scholarships which cover 50%, 70% and even 100% of tuition fees, depending on their academic achievement.
Regarding employment opportunities after graduating, CMC University guarantees 100% of employment at CMC Corporation and Samsung for students graduating from bilingual Technology training program.
"If graduates are qualified to work for CMC, then they are also qualified to work for other corporations. CMC sets relatively high requirements in terms of both expertise and foreign language skills. Many freshmen have already come into contact with reality and work with engineers of our member companies through the programming club and other career orientation activities", said Mr. Binh.