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Friday, June 21, 2024

Beyond the mandates of an educational institution

By Huynh Kim

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For a university, the key mandates, needless to say, must be to provide education services, to collaborate with industries in training so as to equip students with job-ready skills, to conduct research and development, or, in catching up with global trends now, to engage in business incubation to make practical contributions to economic development. At Nam Can Tho University in the Mekong Delta city of the same name, such responsibilities are fully assumed. And, beyond such mandates, the private education institution has even excelled in corporate social responsibility (CSR), though it is not genuinely a corporation.

Established in early 2013, Nam Can Tho University after ten years has expanded by leaps and bounds, and aims to be among the top-ranked private instituations in the country in 2025, before becoming a multi-disciplinary institution of regional and international stature in 2030. To realize its ambitious goal, Nam Can Tho University is determined to follow the company-in-university model, and its success on this pathway has enabled the young institution to make great contributions to society, especially in CSR activities.

Corporate dimension 

Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung, chairman of the university council, said the university has made great efforts in promoting the company-in-university model, and has to date established three affiliated companies, namely Nam Mien Nam Group, Nam Can Tho University Medical Center Company Limited, and Nam Can Tho DNC One-Member Company Limited.

With such developments, the university has managed to establish many business-oriened facilities that strongly support scientific research and teaching. These include the R&D Institute of Medical Plants, DNC Automobile Showroom, the Institute for Health Science Research and Training, and a software development center.

Dr. Nguyen Van Quang, rector of the university, explained, “This model provides practice and internship opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and improve their skills, and also offers them job opportunities after graduation.”

Inside the university’s campus, students are often seen riding about on solar-powered vehicles invented and manufactured by DNC Automobile Showroom, or busy demonstrating their skills at the automobile showroom, the R&D Institute of Medical Plants, or the medical center.

The university has also cooperated with numerous well-known corporations to help students improve their knowledge and skills, including TaTa International, Isuzu, Vingroup, Philips Vienam, VietinBank, HDBank, Misa, Viettel, and VNPT.

Prof. Vo Tong Xuan, president emeritus of the university, said the institution is also strengthening cooperation with partners from across the world, including the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia and the UK, to enhance scientific research.

Beyond education mandates

Primarily an education institution in the becoming, and after marching vigorously into the business sphere, the university has expanded the scope of its community spirit via various CSR activities.

Since 2020, the university has contributed VND50 billion to the community, according to Council Chairman of the university Nguyen Tien Dung, especially during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the school donated 15,000 bottles of sterilization, 7,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and protective gear, in addition to 2,000 scholarships to students hit hard by the pandemic, with a total value of VND4 billion.

The following year, the university donated VND150 million to the country’s vaccine program, VND1.5 billion to Can Tho City to acquire 1,500 Covid-19 test kits, 20,000 bottles of sterilization, 8,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 4,500 facial masks. Also this year, the university awarded VND7 billion worth of scholarships to Covid-affected students, and 1,000 gift packages worth VND400,000 each to students in Can Tho stranded by Covid.  The total donation in kind and in cash made by the university in 2021 amounted to VND15 billion.

Nam Can Tho University’s students make protective gear to donate to Covid 19 frontliners during the peak of the pandemic – PHOTO: NCT UNIVERSITY

At a working session with the university’s management on August 10, 2023, Nguyen Van Hieu, Party Secretary of Can Tho City, praised the institution for its great efforts in supporting the community, alongside maintaining education quality, science-technology development, and socio-economic engagement.

Since last year, Nam Can Tho University has maintained the annual scholarship program worth over VND8 billion for its students. It has also decided to earmark VND1 billion in scholarships for outstanding students from Quang Nam Province, plus a tuition fee reduction of 20% and exemption of lodging charges for all students from this province.

This year, apart from the annual scholarship programs, the university has decided to offer full scholarships worth VND10 billion for students from Laos. The eligible candidates will be exempted from all tuition fees, lodging service charges, extra-curriculum English learning fees and dining charges.

Asked if these community programs are integrated into the university’s strategy, Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung said, “Nam Can Tho University has always considered contributions to the community for social development one of its focal missions throughout the course of the university’s development.”

The university’s community spirit, Dr. Dung said, has had dispersion effects on many of the school’s partners who have also joined the university in lending a helping hand to the community, especially in scholarship programs.

Nam Can Tho University currently offers various levels of tertiary education, from post-secondary to undergraduate and postgraduate studies, enrolling more than 19,000 students in 42 faculties. However, as mentioned earlier, the university has also had various programs integrated into its performance, including corporate operations and social development, the latter being a highlighted property of the institution rarely found in other higher education institutions.

The university has seen community development as a particular endeavor that it will pursue in the coming years to contribute to the country’s sustainable development, acording to the council chairman.

“Nam Can Tho University will certainly further expand community programs in the coming time,” said Dr. Nguyen Tien Dung.

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