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Victoria To Educate Vietnamese Info Managers

Victoria To Educate Vietnamese Information Managers

Victoria University has secured a $US1 million grant to educate Vietnamese information managers in New Zealand.

In a deal signed by Victoria Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon and an American philanthropic organisation and worth almost $US1 million over two years, information managers from Vietnam will travel to Wellington for postgraduate and continuing education with staff from the School of Information Management.

The students will study primarily for higher qualifications such as the Master of Arts, Master of Library and Information Studies, Master of Information Management and doctoral (PhD) degrees. Between 15 and 20 students will be studying towards higher degrees with the University at any one time. Staff from the School will also travel to Vietnam to provide onsite continuing education.

Professor McCutcheon said the deal was yet another example of Victoria's growing international relationships, particularly in the Greater Mekong sub-region.

"This agreement is another sign of Victoria's commitment to the development of the countries in the region and follows our move last year, with other educational institutions, to establish the Greater Mekong Sub-region Tertiary Education Consortium (GMSTEC) Trust to promote the development of quality international teaching and research programmes with a focus on the Mekong region."

Professor Gary Gorman, Acting Head of the School of Information Management, said staff from the School's Library and Information Management Group had been active in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, over the past four years.

"This grant is the culmination of many years of work and contact building by School staff in the region. We've done studies on information infrastructure development, provided training for managers and staff at Hue University and conducted a feasibility study for higher degrees in information management in development projects funded by New Zealand and international agencies."

Professor Gorman said the grant was vital if the people of developing countries such as Vietnam were to share in the benefits of information technology.

"The Internet, email and other forms of information technology are transforming the world and the way we do business, learn and study. But I've seen very large libraries in rapidly developing countries that are not only without a desktop computer but also without a single fax machine. They're run on the most meagre of budgets by highly committed and poorly paid staff. While Singapore maybe one of the most 'wired' cities in the world, that is not the norm in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.

"If people in the developing world are to tap into the benefits that these new technologies bring, then their information managers need to develop the skills and knowledge to make that happen. This grant and our programme are an important step towards that goal."

Professor Gorman said the first students would arrive in Wellington in early 2004.

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