Vietnam to get new state-of-the-art S&T university, helped by loans from the ADB and France

HA NOI, VIET NAM, May 3, 2011. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is funding a new model university for Viet Nam that will help one of the region’s most dynamic economies stay on track towards becoming a fully industrialized nation.

The ADB Board of Directors has approved loans of $ 190 million to establish the University of Science and Technology of Ha Noi, a state-of-the-art institution which will support research, technical innovation, and skills development. The Government of France will complement the ADB assistance by extending about Euro 100 million over 10 years to help develop the university, with the Government of Viet Nam providing $ 23 million.

“As the Vietnamese economy evolves, innovation and technical skills are expected to play an increasingly important role in driving growth and development and this new model university will support this by providing industry-relevant science and technology teaching and research,” said Norman LaRocque, ADB’s Senior Education Specialist for Southeast Asia.

Viet Nam has been one of Asia’s fastest expanding economies over the past two decades with growth averaging over 7% between 1990 and 2010. Poverty rates have dropped dramatically over the same period. Viet Nam is now a middle income country and is aiming to become a fully fledged industrialized nation by 2020. At the same time, the growing emergence of industry as a key component of the economy has created a boom in demand for skilled labor which the higher education system is struggling to meet.

Along with funding physical facilities to accommodate an initial 5,000 students, the project will develop modern governance and management systems and capacity-build senior staff. It will also establish centers to promote high quality, relevant academic programs, research, and links to industry groups in the private sector. These features will provide a model that can be replicated at other local universities in the future.

“The new institution will provide an improved policy framework for the governance, financing, and quality assurance of universities that could be extended across Viet Nam,” said Mr. LaRocque.

ADB’s loans comprise $ 170 million from ordinary capital resources (OCR), and $ 20 million from the hard terms facility of its concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF). The OCR loan has a 26-year term, a 6-year grace period, and interest set in accordance with its LIBOR-based lending facility. The ADF loan has a 32-year term, an 8-year grace period, and carries an interest charge of 2.02%.