The conclusion of two DAAD alumni workshops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City was that improving employability must be a strategic cross-cutting task.

“How to improve the employability of students at Vietnamese universities?” or rather “Employability in Higher Education” was the topic of two alumni workshops organized by the DAAD Regional Office in Hanoi on November 14 and the DAAD Information Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on November 16.

The participants of the workshops understood this primarily as the imparting or learning of soft skills. However, the two invited experts of the Career Service of the University of Münster made it clear that the answer to this question requires much more and, ultimately, must be a cross-cutting strategic task throughout the university. Andreas Eimer and Dr. Jan Knauer emphasized that the university, the faculties and teachers as well as the students themselves are all jointly responsible for improving employability. The university by creating service structures; the faculties and teachers by aligning their study programs with good employability; and the students by taking advantage of the offers and at the same time studying with a view to a later employment. For example, the Career Service of the University of Münster has developed a seminar offer that is also very well received by the students because they can earn credit points with the successful participation in many seminars.

In Vietnam, the topic is discussed very intensively because there are great differences between the demand of the labor market and the often too theory-oriented education at the universities which leads to high unemployment among Vietnamese graduates. More and more young Vietnamese who can afford it are studying abroad. 17% more Vietnamese people went to Germany last year compared to the previous year. At the same time, the number of students at Vietnamese universities has been falling slightly for around four years.

Vietnamese universities are still at the beginning of developing concepts to improve the employability of their students and so far have concentrated on the occasional teaching of soft skills. The topic is not yet understood as a necessary strategic cross-cutting task of the university management. The alumni workshops could hopefully provide a first food for thought.