I was fortunate to have been invited to speak and moderate a panel discussion on higher education at the EdTech Asia Summit 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Three things that amazed me:
- Education is really important in Vietnam. Culturally many place an enormous value on education and are willing to invest in education. Vietnam performs nearly as well as some developed countries with substantially well GDP per capita as shown in this chart below and described here.
2. Workforce employment gaps are real. I have experienced this in Singapore and Australia as an employer, seen the data from the US and this theme resonated again throughout the conference. In Vietnam there are a lot of hard skills training in science and engineering. However, the team and people skills side is somewhat lacking. English language training continues to a highly valued skill as well.
3. Massive expected growth in education enrollment. As the middle class expands some presenters were predicting another 100 million higher education enrollments in the next 15 years. This is against a baseline of approximately 200 million today.
4. Online acceptance. Apparently over 3 million Vietnamese have paid for some online education. Amazing in a country of 92 million.
5. Rote learning still dominates. Based on my discussion with colleagues at the conference many learning environments are still dominated by the rote learning lecture.
These observations reinforce my view that Vietnam and countries like it would benefit significantly from adopting team-based learning to improve the effectiveness of higher education as it expands in the country. Especially as a way to be more efficient in larger classroom sizes. Implementation will not be an easy or overnight phenomenon, but it is definitely worth trying. And it can even be fun as shown in this video from a TBL workshop we conducted at a medical school in Vietnan.