VECON Economic Education in Vietnam

Copyright © 1999 by TT Nguyen. All Rights Reserved
Last Updated: 05/27/99
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Masters in Development Economics Program (MDE)

The following information was based on a blurb posted by Adam McCarty.
     http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~vecon/download/mccarty/neumde1.pdf (14K)
     http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~vecon/download/mccarty/neumde2.pdf (88K)
A two-year full-time degree taught in English. The curriculum focuses on
applying economic theory to the policy challenges facing Vietnam. A
substantial thesis requirement pushes students to develop their analytical
capacities. Four years of teaching and other assistance from the Institute of
Social Studies, Holland, funded through a Dutch support project, has enabled
the Degree Programme to achieve international standards in the teaching of
economics. Contact details:
    Masters Programme in Development Economics
    Building 6, First Floor
    National Economics University
    Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Vietnam
    Tel   : 844-8693211
    Fax   : 844-8693369
    E-mail: vnhl@hn.vnn.vn


                               OVERVIEW


The Dutch support project began in 1994 with the aim to produce the first
economics Masters degree courses of international standard in Vietnam - one in
the north (National Economics University), and one in the south (College of
Economics, Vietnam National University). The project is being implemented by
the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), based in the Hague.

The first "set up" phase of the project is now complete. Each year, about 60
students graduate from the two-year degree, gaining a certificate signed by
both the Vietnamese and ISS Rectors. The course is taught and examined
entirely in English.

The second phase began in late 1998 and is planned to run until the year 2003.
The second phase budget of 6 million Dutch guilders (about US$3.5 million) is
divided equally between the projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This
funding provides for teaching visits by ISS staff, full-time ISS staff
positions in both cities, and for short and long-term training of Vietnamese
in Holland.

Prof. Drs. Vu Thieu and Dr. Adam McCarty manage the Hanoi project. In 1998,
224 candidates sat the entrance exam in Hanoi, of which 30 were selected (13
were women). All graduates of the first two intakes are now employed, mostly
in Government Ministries and Universities.

The challenge of the second phase is to improve the quality of the course such
that the Masters Programme becomes sustainable (i.e. self-funding) by the year
2002. It is not enough to let the course prove itself. The project is
developing its own public relations strategy and exploring alternative funding
options.


                         STATEMENT OF SERVICES

1. Teaching

The core activity and expertise of the Masters in Development Economics (MDE)
team is in teaching the two-year degree. At present, the annual intake is
restricted to the 30 students funded through the Dutch support project. From
the year 2000, however, we will begin to accept additional full-fee students
who meet minimum entry requirements. Donors could therefore include
scholarships for Vietnamese to undertake the Masters degree when formulating
capacity development and institutional strengthening projects. The MDE
provides in-country English-language economics training to international
standards at a fraction of the cost of equivalent courses overseas:
                                                         US$
Cost of scholarship for two-year MDE degree              5,600
Additional living allowance for students (US$60/month)   1,920
                                                         7,520

Allowance should be made for bridging course in economics and English,
particularly if scholarships are being awarded to officials and others from
the more remote provinces of Vietnam:
                                                         US$
Cost of six month bridging course                        1,560
Cost of ten month bridging course                        2,400
(living allowances included in bridging course costs)

Note: The above fee schedule will increase by 5% per annum after the year 2000.

There is only one intake per year at present, which is in November. The first
full-fee students may therefore begin the MDE coursework in November 2000. Of
course, candidate selection, entry examination, and payment of fees must be
completed in the prior months.


2. Consulting

The MDE programme boasts a core number of full-time young professionals who
are supported by the accumulated expertise of the teaching staff. There are
also foreign experts upon whom the MDE programme team can draw for selective
support. From these persons, and a lengthy list of Programme Associates, the
MDE programme has demonstrated capacity and expertise in the following:
    o Project design and evaluation
    o Environmental impact assessment
    o Participatory development and microfinance
    o Women in development
    o Survey design, implementation and analysis
    o Trade and industry policy analysis
    o Policy watch briefing: monitoring sectoral reform in detail

The MDE programme can place individual consultants for short or long periods.
They can also pull together teams to undertake substantive assignments or to
participate as local partners in project bids.


3. Training and Research

The MDE invites regional and visiting Economists to give seminar presentations
on a regular basis. A policy research conference is also organised on an
annual basis, with the next one scheduled for August 1999. The MDE has the
capacity to organise and manage seminars and workshops at the NEU.

The MDE team has also designed and implemented training workshops at the NEU
and elsewhere in Vietnam. Workshops can range from one day to several weeks.
Topics covered include:
    o Social considerations in planning (one week)
    o The practice of good environmental policies (two weeks)
    o Computer training for survey analysis (two weeks)

We welcome inquiries to develop and deliver short-term training and research
activities.

All students must complete a substantial research thesis in their second year
of the Masters degree. Students are guided in drafting their research
proposals, and one or two supervisors are organised for each student.
Supervisors are generally senior academics and officials, both Vietnamese and
foreign, from universities, institutes, banks, Ministries, and foreign aid
organisations. Examination of theses is rigorous, including an oral
presentation and defense. All theses must demonstrate an understanding and
application of a policy-relevant area of economic theory. They are generally
of about 90 pages in length. Examples of recent thesis topics include:

Selection of the 26 thesis topics completed in 1998:
o Credit policies for small and medium enterprises in Vietnam since 1990.
o The magnitude and determinants of rural-urban migration into Hanoi, 1986-1996.
o Factors affecting technology adoption and its impact on agricultural
    growth: the case of rice production in Vietnam (1988-1997)
o Public pricing policy in economic development: a study of electricity
    pricing in Vietnam during 1988-1997.
o An analysis and assessment of savings mobilization through banks in
    Vietnam, 1989-1997.
o The economic impact of FDI on Vietnam's tourism sector, 1988-1996.
o Issues and options for the equitization of state-owned enterprises in Vietnam.
o Land-use for sustainable agricultural development: The Central
    Highlands, 1988-1996.
o Agriculture price stabilization policies in LDCs: options for Vietnam.
o The impact of the rural financial system on agricultural development and
    poverty reduction: the case of Thanh Hoa province since 1988.
o An analysis of factors affecting labour force participation by women in
    Hanoi during the transition period, 1986-1996.
o Vietnam's integration into AFTA and its impact on domestic production: A
    case study of the Bai Bang paper company.

Some thesis topics ongoing in 1999:
o The role of the 'core-satellite' model in rural development: Case study
    of Lam Son Sugar Company.
o The impact of development on non-farm production in traditional craft villages.
o The role of Transnational Corporations in industrial sector technology
    transfer and diffusion in less developed countries: Case study of Vietnam.
o The demand for money in Vietnam (1986-1998).
o The contribution of Japan's ODA to Vietnam's economic growth since 1989.
o The current account deficit and debt sustainability in Vietnam, 1989-1998.
o The role of the informal sector in Vietnam's economy.
o The bad debt problem in the Vietnamese banking system.
o The impact of trade policies on the development of the Vietnamese
    automobile industry, 1989-1998.
o The role of exchange rate policy in economic development: Vietnam, 1989-1998.
o Vietnam's tax policies and structure: a critical review.
o Explaining Taiwan's success: lessons for Vietnam.
o The labour issue in restructuring and equitizing state-owned enterprises.


                 LIST OF APPOINTED NEU TEACHING STAFF

Acronyms:
    Institute for Social Studies (ISS);
    School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS);
    London School of Economics (LSE);
    Australian National University (ANU);
    Candidate for doctorate (Can. Dr.).

Lecturers
M/F
Title
Teaching Subject(s)
Training from:
--------------
Vu Thieu
M
Prof. Dr.Sc
Econometrics; Research Methods
Russia, ISS, UNDP Project
--------------
Ng. Quang Dong
M
Can.Dr
Maths-Statistics
Hungary, Ford F., ISS
--------------
Truong Van Tu
M
Can.Dr
Computer
Czechslovakia, Vietnam, Canada
--------------
Tran Dinh Toan
M
M.A
Computer; Agriculture & Rural Dev.
India, United States
--------------
Nguyen Nhu Binh
M
Can.Dr
Project Analysis
Germany, Ford Foundation, ISS
--------------
Nguyen Ngoc Mai
F
Ass. Prof Can.Dr
Project Analysis
Russia, UNDP Project, ISS
--------------
Dang Kim Nhung
F
Can.Dr
Women in Development
Hungary, Canada, ISS
--------------
Nguyen Manh Quan
M
MBA
Microeconomics, Project Analysis
Germany, United States, ISS
--------------
Vu Kim Dzung
M
M.A (ISS)
Microeconomics; Macro Approach to Industrialization
Russia, ISS, doing PhD in Vietnam
--------------
Ngo Thi Hoai Lam
F
M.A
Can.Dr
International Finance; Finance for Development; Sectoral Approach to
Industrialization
Russia, SOAS, ISS
--------------
Ngo Kim Thanh
F
M.A (ISS)
Micro Approach to Industrialization
ISS, Doing PhD in Vietnam
--------------
Dang Ngoc Duc
M
M.A (ISS)
Money & Banking
ISS, Doing PhD in Vietnam
--------------
Ngo Thi Men
F
M.A (ISS)
International Trade
ISS, Doing PhD at ISS
--------------
Vu Thu Giang
F
Ass. Prof.. Can.Dr
Macroeconomics
Russia, UNDP Project, ISS, Japan
--------------
Le To Hoa
F
M.A

ISS
--------------
Nguyen Anh Minh
M
M.A
International Trade
ISS
--------------
Nguyen Van Cong
M
Can. Dr.
Macroeconomics
Bulgaria, Doing M.A at ISS
--------------
Le Thi Thu Hoa
F
M.A
Environmental Economics
Korea, ISS
--------------
Vu Quoc Huy
M
PhD (ANU)
Development Planning and Sustainability of Growth
Australia, ISS
--------------
Nguyen Nguyet Nga
F
PhD (Manchester)
Development Planning and Sustainability of Growth
Britain
--------------
Nguyen Van Quy
M
Ass. Prof. Dr.Sc
System of National Accounts
Russia
--------------
Nguyen Thang
M
Can. Dr. M.A (LSE)
Rural Economics and Market Analysis
Russia, England
--------------
Ng. Do Anh Tuan
M
M.A
Agricultural Strategy and Policy
ISS
--------------
Nguyen Manh Cuong
M
M.A
Agrarian Structure, Organization and Institutions
ISS
--------------



      LIST OF EXTERNAL TEACHING STAFF AND SOME THESIS SUPERVISORS

Persons
M/F
Title
Teaching Subject(s)
--------------
Vu Ngoc Pha
M
Ass. Prof.
Philosophy
--------------
Vu Van Han
M
Ass. Prof. Can. Dr.
Political Economics
--------------
Nguyen Dinh Phan
M
Prof. Can.Dr.
Industrialisation
--------------
Nguyen The Nha
M
Prof. Can.Dr.
Agriculture and Rural Development
--------------
Vo Viet Ngoan
M
Dr. (USA)
Money and Banking
--------------
Adam McCarty
M
Dr. (ANU)
Research Methods 1 & 2; Issues in Development Economics
--------------
Nguyen Ngoc Luu
M
Dr. (ISS)
Growth theory; Rural development.
--------------
Karel Jansen
M
Ass. Prof. Dr. (ISS)
Financial Economics
--------------
Nolwen Henaff
F
Dr. (Orstom)
Labour Economics
--------------
Le Dang Doanh
M
Prof. Dr.
Thesis supervisor
--------------
Nguyen Quang Thai
M
Prof. Dr. Sc.
Thesis supervisor
--------------
Vo Tri Thanh
M
Dr. (ANU)
Thesis supervisor
--------------
Tran Tho Dat
M
Dr. (ANU)
Thesis supervisor
--------------
Ray Mallon
M
UNDP
Thesis supervisor
--------------

Note: There are many more supervisors, the above is only a sample of those who
support the research efforts of the MDE Programme students.



                    FACILITIES AND STUDENT SERVICES

The Programme strives to continually improve the quality of teaching and
support services for students. Curriculum reform in ongoing. In
addition, students benefit from:
o A library collection of over 1,000 recently published books from Macmillan,
    Routhledge, CUP, etc. This complements the substantial collection of
    published and unpublished documents and databases about Vietnam's economy.
o Subscriptions to twelve leading economics journals, including the AEA, The
    Economic Journal, and the Journal of Development Studies.
o A CD-ROM collection, including EconLit, and the VCCI and VIR databases.
o The ability to order books and copies of important articles from overseas.
o Access to the Internet and e-mail.
o A computer lab room with 15 workstations linked to a powerful server.
o An air-conditioned student reading room.
o Programme support staff: Librarian, Secretary, Computer Expert, Administrator.
o The assistance of Dr. Adam McCarty, a Lecturer from the Institute of Social
    Studies, the Hague, funded under the Dutch support project.


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