Hybridity in Vietnamese universities: an analysis of the interactions between Vietnamese traditions and foreign influences

Ly Thi Tran, Mai Ngo, Nhai Nguyen, Xuan Thu Dang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Vietnam's history has witnessed the nation’s constant effort to learn from the outside world. This effort paradoxically co-exists with the country’s aspiration to escape from foreign domination, to protect national independence and to preserve national identity. Discussions of foreign influences in the Vietnamese education system should be situated within the overall political and historical condition of Vietnam, which has been characterised by the influence of successive external forces and foreign countries. There have been a lot of debates and discussions about the nature, benefits and tensions associated with Vietnam’s efforts to open to the world and learn from other countries while combining with and maintaining its traditional practices and values in the course of education reform over the nation’s different historical and political periods. However, hybridity in higher education as a notable phenomenon related to the interactions between Vietnamese traditions and foreign influences has not been adequately explored in empirical research. The study reported in this paper responds to this paucity in the literature. It analyses the dynamic and complex dimensions of hybridity across two Vietnamese universities. The empirical data show that hybridity is accompanied with some positive changes and reforms in teaching, learning and university governance. However, hybridity happens in largely ad hoc, fragmented and inconsistent manners across different areas of university operations. The research also indicates that the dominant force behind hybridity in the Vietnamese HE system is staff and leaders being educated overseas and exposed to foreign practices and values. It, however, shows the tensions arising from the interactions of the Western, traditional and Communist Party principles during the hybridisation process. The paper concludes by offering some implications for the development of a strategic plan and approaches to deal with potential conflicts between external influences and traditional values and assist staff with the development of their capacity to optimise the potential benefits of hybridity to enrich teaching, learning, governance and university operation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1899-1916
    Number of pages18
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • foreign influences
    • higher education system
    • hybridity
    • internationalisation
    • policy borrowing
    • Vietnamese higher education


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