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UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to host students from Vietnam By Merritt Melancon

The University of Georgia is more than 9,000 miles away from where most Vietmanese college students pursued their undergraduate degrees, but representatives from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences want it to be on the top of their list of possible graduate schools.

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently signed an agreement with the Vietnam International Education Development (VIED) program to bring graduate students to complete their masters and doctoral degrees at CAES.

“Vietnam is increasingly becoming a stronger global player because of their rapid and sustained economic growth,”said Amrit Bart, director of the CAES Office of Global Programs. “With this program they hope to strengthen their capacity for research and education, and as they progress and develop their programs, this partnership will strengthen our relationship with their scientific and academic community.”

Under the agreement signed in January 23rd., the VIED program, administered by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, will screen, select and submit potential applicants to apply into CAES graduate programs. VIED will pay the full cost of attending graduate school, Bart said. The college would benefit from an increased international perspective in its classrooms and labs and would also have ready pool of excellent graduate assistants to help teach classes and perform research.

While Vietnam has more than 400 colleges and universities across the nation, the country has a limited number of doctoral programs and consequently, few doctroral degree holders. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education is investing in the VIED 911 scholarship program because the country, which has one the fastest growing economies in Asia, needs well-trained professors and research scientists to bolster their scholarship and research. The hope is that by sending students abroad to attain their doctoral degrees, the country will develop the professors and researchers needed to launch graduate programs at its universities and colleges. Since it began 2010, the program has already funded a number of scholarships but well below their target.

The CAES Office of Global Programs plans to send CAES faculty members to five well regarded universities with strong agricultural programs to Vietnam this year. They will meet with potential doctoral students as well as university administrators to highlight the strengths of the college and value of their UGA degree

University of Georgia students and faculty should start seeing the first VIED graduate students on campus in fall of 2016. While there is a great deal of student interest in fields of study outside of the CAES, this agreement will only bring students to study in departments in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

In addition to signing the VIED, Bart and Dean Scott Angle worked with the Vietnam Education Foundation to support further scholarship for Vietmanese students under their scholar program to study at the UGA CAES.

“Vietnam has one of the most aggressive and forward looking education improvement program in Southeast Asia with significant portion of their GDP being spent in higher education. The students who would apply to UGA would be highly screened and selected from top universities.“

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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