Mr. Pham Tan Nghia – Vietnam USA Society (VUS) President - CEO

 “Success comes from contribution to the community”
“Benefactor” for the Vietnamese youth in the international integration process
 “… The field of education requires you to put all your heart into it, to maintain your long-lasting passion, and to take care of the community and society. And when your educational institution has made contribution and brought real benefits to the society, then success naturally comes to you.”

English by Thu Quách
What do you think of the role and importance of English in the context of global nowsadays?
In the flat world and SMAC era (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud), where most human knowledge of science and technology were created, stored and popularized in English, it is getting easier for people with good English knowledge to access information via the internet and use the operating system, software, equipment and machines handed over by international experts. Recently, members of Asian Economic Community AEC have agreed to use English as their common language of communication and working. Therefore good English speakers will have better opportunities to study, work, achieve higher incomes and promotion nationally and internationally. A report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) showed that “with a Bachelor’s degree, professional skills and and an IELTS certificate of 6.5 or equivalent, an employee could work in Singapore, South Korea or Japan with an average income 5 or 10 times higher than in Vietnam”. This also means that Vietnamese workers may lose their opportunities right at home if they are not good at English. Therefore, the role of English nowadays is very important.
VUS has been considered as a pioneering and prestigious English teaching center in Ho Chi Minh City and all over the country. Could you please share with us your outstanding achievements in the recent years?
Every year, we have approximately 200,000 parents sending their children to study  at VUS. Besides, we have a high record of students with outstanding achievent at internationally recognized English examinations every year. Since establishment, VUS has trained millions of students, many of whom have had chances to study in developed countries or played important roles in multinational corporations.
Having trused by not only parents but also the Ministry of Education and Training and People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, VUS has been assigned to coordinate with Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training to train English knowledge for  teachers at public schools to meet international standards, develop special program for their officers, policemen and soldiers at Ho Chi Minh City Police Department and Border Protection Department and coordinate with  Department of Home Affairs to improve English for key cadres. Thanks to our teaching quality and achievements, VUS has also been chosen by United States Department of State through the US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City to develop the English Access Microscholarship Program for economically disadvantaged children.
In addition, VUS also organizes the annual VUS TESOL Conference to update English teachers all over the country on the most advanced international English teaching methods. We are also the pioneering English training center to give Vietnamese opportunities to access internationally recognized English certificates such as International TOEFL in 1999, Cambridge Starters, Movers and Flyers in 2000, TOEIC in 2003, TOEFL iBT in 2006 and IELTS.  We have also created a place for over 1,500 native English speakers and Vietnamese teachers to assemble, to nourish their love for teaching career, and to enhance their pedagogical skills and expertise.
With such great performance, VUS has been awarded many prizes such as Award for HoChiMinh City Typical Enterprise, Medal for its contribution to the nation’s education by the Ministry of Education and Training, Medal for friendship and peace by Vietnam Friendship Organization, Medal for its contribution to the Vietnamese Youth’s training bythe HoChiMinh Communist Youth Union, Merit for its excellence in English training by the Prime Minister, and the Third-Class Labor Medal for our excellence in English training and contributions to social charity, which plays a part in the process of building socialism and protecting the nation.
Besides tuition fees, Vietnamese parents are often concerned about teachers’ quality.  Can you say something about this?
Tuition is certainly one of the factors making parents concerned. However, they will opt for a reasonable tuition if they are satisfied with their children’s academic results thanks to quality. The training program, methodology and technology applied to teaching and the learning environment that nourish students’ love and long-lasting passion for studying are all worth consideration. Teachers also play a very important factor.
At VUS, teacher recruitment process is implemented through many steps, including shortlisting, preliminary interview, formal interview, pre-qualification, and training. Then the candidate must undergo 100 teaching hours’  probation before being recognized as an official teacher of Vietnam USA Society and signing the teaching contract.

Advanced training courses, seminars, and professional training sessions are frequently organized through VUS’s collaboration with its strategic partners,  CUNY (the City University of New York), USA and OUP (Oxford University Press), UK. This is an advantage which not many other English centers can have.
What do you think about Fulbright or Harvard University opening their branches in Vietnam?
The presence of famous universities like Fulbright and Harvard in Vietnam will certainly help Vietnamese students get access to prestigious international education. This will in turn promote the national educational system in the context of world integration.  
As an English training center, VUS will provide the Vietnamese youth with more opportunities and essential English skills to be able able to get admitted to these world leading universities.
Do you think education is a less competitive business? To be prepared for AEC and TPP trends, does VUS worry about competing with foreign educational institutions? 
Perhaps the education sector is not as competitive as the others. I was previously asked whether VUS was afraid of being defeated by foreign businesses when Vietnam joined WTO. In fact, VUS is  not much too concerned  thanks to our international training quality, updated learning environment and reasonable tuition fees - less than that half , compared with language centers operated by foreign investors. I think we will maintain our sustainable growth because  foreign institutions can hardly be organized the same model way as VUS.
Is the international cooperation VUS strength, Sir?
Having recognized that international cooperation is extremely important in English language training,  since establishment, I got the approval of the Ministry of Education and Training for the license to cooperate with overseas universities to build English training programs with international standards for Vietnamese students.
In addition to having the City University of New York (CUNY) as our strategic partner in the academic field, VUS also pioneered in introducing Vietnamese to international English certificates such as International TOEFL in 1997, Cambridge Starters, Movers, Flyers in 2000, TOEIC Bridge, TOEIC in 2003, TOEFL iBT in 2006, IELTS, etc. The collaboration with the third largest public university in the United States like CUNY has helped VUS update the most advanced English training methods in the world to apply in VUS classes. CUNY also supports VUS in program design, teacher training and teacher recruitment. The fact that VUS has 1,500 fully experienced and dedicated faculty members with high qualifications, international certificates / degrees is not only a strength but also a unique difference.
Oxford University Press – OUP has entrusted VUS as the first and only strategic partner in Southeast Asia to sign the Oxford Quality Program – a prestigious program of Oxford University - only signed with selected English teaching institutions in the world.
In addition, Imagine Learning Education, the USA  has appointed VUS as an exclusive partner to introduce the Imagine Learning English to young Vietnamese learners. The Imagine Learning English software program is an achievement of high technology application in teaching English to children in the United States which has been applied in most states across the US. Accordingly, Vietnamese students have the opportunity to experience the same learning approach as American children.
What is VUS’s developing plan in the future, Sir?
With our long-established experience in Hochiminh City, VUS is planning expand our operation to other popular cities of the country to bring many other Vietnamese people the opportunity to access an English teaching program of international standards  with reasonable tuition fees. Continuing our mission of  “giving Vietnamese youth confidence in the international integration process”, VUS will maintain our high quality of training, develop teaching faculty and build campuses with international standards to better meet the needs of learning English of Vietnamese people.
With all these great achievements, please share with us what key factors to your success are.
First, I think luck is an indispensable factor in business. Then comes personal constant effort, which greatly contributes to the success. Especially, the  field of education requires you to put all your heart into it, to maintain your long-lasting passion, and to take care of the community and society. And when your educational institution has made contribution and brought real benefits to the society, then success naturally comes to you.
What do you usually do when you are under work pressure? Besides work, what are your habits and hobbies?
Swimming in the sea and travelling are effective ways to manage stress and bring my life into balance. In addition, I  often take simple exercise to keep fit such as jogging and swimming,  because all I need is a pair of shoes, shorts and a T-shirt. I also love arts and fashion. I am not finicky about my food because I got used to a simple diet of rice and eggs all day when I was young. But I still feft happy then. (laughs)

Thanks for your sharing!

(From internet)

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