Mr. Gian Tu Trung and the story of "Philosophy of Education & University Administration"

(Admission Office   – Van Lang, 13, December 2018)On the afternoon of August 28th, 2018 at 45 Nguyen Khac Nhu Headquarters, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Mr. Gian Tu Trung, an education activist did address the audience with the topic: "Philosophy of Education and University Administration" at Van Lang University (VLU).

 Gian Tu Trung is the founder, principal of the PACE Institute of Management; Director of IRED Institute of Education in Vietnam; Vice President of Phan Chau Trinh Cultural Foundation; Director of OpenEdu Initiative; Head of IPL Scholarship for Young Talents; and Executive Board Member of Comparative Education Society of Asia, etc. Additionally, he is the author of the book, "What’s the right thing to do? – A Perspective of the Enlightenment Story," published in 2015. He was also honored as "Global Young Leader" by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on March 12, 2013 for his great contributions to education.

Is education a commodity?

Being simple but professional attire for the speeches, the education expert – Mr. Gian Tu Trung began his talk with teachers of VLU by a warm-up question: Is education a commodity?

van lang gian tu trung IMG 0398The talk of the education expert – Mr. Gian Tu Trung drew the attention of leaders of VLU: Dr. Nguyen Dung – Member of the board, Former Rector; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu – Member of the board, Rector; MA. Vo Van Tuan – Member of the board, Vice Rector, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Van Ang – Vice Rector, and other leaders of the departments and faculties of VLU.

“Can education be a commodity?” is an important premise, which places much stress on keeping having a debate over “the philosophy of education and university administration”. These are the two issues that VLU has taken into serious consideration to be on the right track of innovation and development: the challenges ahead.

van lang gian tu trung 002Teachers of VLU were exalted to an open discussion in a talkshow with Mr. Gian Tu Trung at the conference room 203 A – Headquarters 45 Nguyen Khac Nhu, District 1, on August 28th 2018.

After the talk and discussion, both the presenter and teachers of VLU agreed that whenever education is regarded as degree, course, or score, education is, of course, the commodity, price and can be sold. On the contrary, if education is the foundation of culture, human capacity, professionalism and employability skills, education is obviously not a commodity. In fact, education is a very precious and sacred thing, which cannot be sold or bought with money or even much more money.

According to the speaker, the value of education is kindly created by Time, Mind, Power, Intelligence and Money, in which money is only a catalyst for autonomy in education, and self-liberation. Hence, education is actually invaluable for its true meaning like “no pain, no gain”. Education is also considered as a sacred thing as it can change people’s minds, or even change the destiny of people in different parts of the world by its full impact.

What is the educational philosophy?

It is necessary to answer the three questions below to determine what the philosophy of education is.

* What is human?
* What kind of people do we want to create?
* How do we create such people?

The fact is that education is a continual process. Education in university is, in fact, the result of education in high school or even of the lower level. As a consequence, whenever universities want to argue about the philosophy of education, it is a prerequisite for the schools to answer the question: In terms of the philosophy of lower education, what is the true expectation of high schools in the way of creating their “special product” – the high school students.

As head of the Institute of Education IRED, Mr. Gian Tu Trung also shared the model of human education proposed by the Institute IRED: “The Model of three qualities”. Accordingly, an educated person needs to meet the three elements: “Human Way”, “Home Way”, and “My Way”. He made an emphasis on Humanity which is the most important element or even the prerequisite for early childhood education. As a result, “Human Way” and “Home Way” is surely the scaffold of “My way”.

Build the “Ethics Education” of the University

 “The mission of a university is to build ethical issues in the school setting,” said the expert. The ethics issues should reflect their name exactly and be not-for-profit through answering the two questions: what to learn? And why to learn?

From the viewpoint of the speaker, we are now faced with the reality of education measured by giving “numbers – the unrelenting for good grades and achievement” rather than finding what the consequences of grade obsession are or how to be a noble educator. The destination of progressive education is actually not the glory, status, but “free man”. “Free man” just appears unless progressive education can encourage people to have a thirst for knowledge. This is the basis for understanding ethics and schools practice.

University has two basic functions: training function – creating intellectual products; and research function – creating knowledge products. With the Professional Oriented Higher Education (POHE), VLU is going to choose a suitable direction for sure. Answering the question: What are the desires of VLU when creating its special products? is like a compass on the way to success in ethics education. Consequently, it is the ethics education that will create the mission and spirit of a university. Therefore, being given a university title is an honor, and also a heavy responsibility.

University administration

Sharing with the leaders of VLU about the importance of the philosophy of both education and university administration of the school development in the near future, the expert said that it was necessary to clearly distinguish the concepts of administering or governing, and leading or ruling. He also suggested that VLU could take the administration model of the PACE Institute of Management applying an idea-Based model as a reference. So, the basic role of the leader is to raise the staff’s awareness of their role and duties at work. Likewise, the teacher's job is to make students become active learners in stead.

mo hinhThe PACE Institute of Management replication model can be applied to businesses as well as schools. Of the six factors, thought is the first element that Mr. Gian Tu Trung advised leaders of VLU should keep in mind as the first priority.

The speaker says that it is time to change the mindset and perception of the school. But it is necessary to be painfully aware that the university is different from the business. It is possible to put the advantages of corporate administration into university administration. This is the growing trend of the world in general, not just of VLU. However, it must keep the spirit or the core values of the university as the purpose of education is to create the special product – it is “people product”.

In spite of the time constraint, the talk of the education expert has touched many deep issues. According to him, when overviewing the whole picture, VLU will know how to reach the setting targets as well as aware that where its final destination is in the field of education. What’s more, VLU will know exactly how to keep its students – a schools greatest asset and its reputation over the past 24 years effectively. In fact, VLU is a worthy school for many generations of students and their families. VLU cannot be successful if there is no great contribution made by the stakeholders, especially the role of students and their families. That is why it is a burden on the leaders of VLU, which is in need of the consensus and the support of all staff, lecturers, and students so that VLU can go further on the journey ahead.

News/Photos: Nguyen Lien
Translated by: Vuong Tran Gia Nhon, Mr.

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