The main challenge for HEIs is then to think of themselves as development operators in relation to this political will to empower:
- On the one hand, each HEI places its activities within a territory, which gives it a societal responsibility in terms of the integration of its graduates, and therefore of support mechanisms for professional integration. In terms of research-innovation programs, the aim is to structure and develop projects that provide operational responses to socio-economic and territorial needs.
- On the other hand, each HEI must rethink its model of university governance, which it has relied on for more than 20 years and which was characterized by the following: absence of strategic intelligence; annual rather than multi-year planning, due to the lack of relevant foresight; inadequate knowledge and know-how of academic, scientific and administrative leaders and managers in the area of university governance; absence of government initiatives and funding in the area of training and support for strategic planning in the framework of a renewed university governance model.
Analysis of the challenges facing HEIs in both Cambodia and Vietnam led Hanoi University (HANU - P1) and the Asia-Pacific Regional Directorate (AUF-DRAP - P3) of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) to launch a survey in June 2018 of the 7 HEIs that have been members of the AUF for over 15 years:
- Hanoi University of Architecture (UAH - P11)
- University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh (USSH - P9)
- University of Economics and Law of Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh (UED - P17)
- University of Health Sciences of Cambodia (USS - P8)
- Hanoi Graduate School of Transport and Communication (ESTC - P13)
- Danang University Polytechnic Institute (IPD - P5)
- and Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC - P15)
This survey made it possible to identify challenges common to the 8 Cambodian and Vietnamese HEIs, and therefore the priority areas for strengthening their university governance to be put in place in a context of empowerment:
- becoming aware of the changes and ruptures affecting university systems in the region, and particularly their impact on the governance of each HEI
- having a strategic vision over determined periods of time, which commits decisions and affects the resources of an HEI
- articulating strategic visions and societal responsibility of an HEI through the impact of its decisions on society and the challenges it faces
- rethinking a model of open university governance encompassing stakeholders in a participatory logic: political and socio-economic actors, but also those from civil society who recognize themselves in this approach.
Following this survey, a meeting of the 8 Cambodian and Vietnamese HEIs was organized in Hanoi (August 14-15, 2018) in order to jointly define the overall and specific orientation of the project, and thus to structure it into priority axes:
- determination of the degree and characteristics of HEIs' autonomy in the framework of a self-diagnosis to be built
- overall analysis of the external and internal environment of the HEIs' organization; construction of the strategic planning device
- definition of the multi-year action plan in the framework of the implementation of the identified priority actions
- cross-cutting device aiming at capacity building and change support.