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Tuesday, 17 January 2023 14:27
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Increasing knowledge and professional skills in training human resources of the Vietnamese international press

(PTOJ) - The Vietnamese international press plays an important role in conveying information about the Party's foreign policies, strategies and activities and State’s diplomacy, contributing to promoting the image and position of the country to international friends. Hence, it is essential for the staff to equip themselves with in-depth knowledge and skills in journalism and foreign affairs. This article contributes to clarifying the requirements and proposes some solutions to improve the quality of human resources in training for the Vietnamese international press today.

The Vietnamese international press plays an important role in conveying information about the Party's foreign policies, strategies and activities and State’s diplomacy, contributing to promoting the image and position of the country to international friends - Photo: vietnamplus.vn

The foreign policy of the Party and State is based on three pillars, including Party diplomacy, State diplomacy and people-to-people relations. If we consider Vietnamese diplomacy as a united front, other types of diplomacy can be mentioned such as political diplomacy, defense diplomacy, parliamentary diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and economic diplomacy. In Vietnam’s political situation and among its institutions, despite having different names and channels of foreign affairs, all foreign affairs activities are controlled and directed by the Party.

The Vietnamese international press has a key role in propagating that foreign policy and related activities. In this process, supervision and criticism are among the tasks that require knowledge and skills. It is necessary to provide in-depth knowledge and skills for staff in journalism and foreign affairs.

Following the above-mentioned important goals, the training, research and teaching of the international press have posed many new challenges and created many new opportunities.

1. International press in the new context and position of the country

Up to now, Vietnam has had diplomatic relations with 189/193 member countries of the United Nations, in which it has established strategic partnerships with 17 nations and comprehensive partnerships with 13 nations; especially with Russia and India as a comprehensive strategic partner, with China as a comprehensive strategic cooperation partner, with Japan as an extensive comprehensive strategic partner.

Besides, Vietnam is also a member of many regional and international organizations; has signed 15 free trade agreements, in which the Vietnam - UK Bilateral Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement are considered the latest free trade agreements.

In general, Vietnam’s foreign relations after the 13th Party Congress on both bilateral and multilateral levels has continued to develop as time passes, especially in the years 2020 and 2021. On the bilateral level, the Covid-19 pandemic may still have a certain impact, especially in the implementation of official visits by Vietnamese leaders abroad, or welcoming leaders and heads of state to Vietnam (if any). In addition, Vietnam’s foreign relations with the US and China will be more or less influenced by the US administration’s approach to China. That may not be known for at least 6 months because Mr. J. Biden’s administration still must prioritize domestic issues. In that context, on the one hand, Vietnam actively approaches and promotes relations with the US, on the other hand it strengthens and deepens relations with three countries namely Japan, India, Australia and other important partners.

On the multilateral level, in 2021, Vietnam completed its role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term and participated in activities within the ASEAN framework. There may be a lot of challenges ahead for Vietnamese diplomacy.

In the new context and new position of the country, the Vietnamese international press plays an important role in conveying information about the Party’s strategies and policies as well as the State’s policies and current laws. The international press not only informs the world but also contributes to making the position of the country understood and share the beautiful images of the country among international friends. The Vietnamese international press serves the foreign affairs of the country. This requires a staff of qualified journalists with professional knowledge as well as strong political will.

With the new context and position mentioned above, it has posed many challenges for the training of human resources for the international press and media system. In particular, in order to improve the country’s position, the determination of the goal of training human resources for the press and international media needs to be further promoted and improved.

2. Strengthening the provision and training of specialized knowledge and skills for staff engaged in foreign affairs

First of all, the press and international media are press, information and media that tend to target audiences outside national borders and among international audiences. International press and media also can be used as terms to refer to specific tasks or activities such as “foreign information” or “foreign press”.

In terms of scientific terminology, the terms “international relations”, “foreign information”, “international relations in the field of press and media” or “international press” are concepts that are closely related but have a narrower meaning than the concept of “international media” which refers to a directional activity of a country with a multidimensional and open trend, from many information sources on the basis of the context of globalization current information.

Secondly, in order to do the task of international media well, the staff in the media, press and foreign information need to be trained and fostered in a specialized direction to meet the tasks set out in terms of both quality and quantity. Strengthening the organization and the staff with the high level of qualifications in international press and media is an inevitable need in carrying out the tasks set forth. Annually, the international press and media require a large number of human resources with professional knowledge and the ability to do international media tasks. In the current trend of international integration, the issue of training human resources for international press and international media in Vietnam has new challenges and new goals for domestic training institutions.

Thirdly, it is necessary to provide specialized knowledge in order enhance specialized skills.

According to surveys of several institutions of higher education in our country in recent years and the analysis of the current situation of human resources for the field of external journalism and international media, clearly shows the several important pieces of information that should be highlighted. The current system of human resource training in this field should make the following improvements:

Firstly, there should be a unified standard system and sufficient conditions for the necessary specialized and intensive formal training process. In Vietnam, many training institutions are providing human resources for the international press and media, but they do not follow any specific standards. Initially, it was a system of schools specializing in foreign languages. Most human resource-using agencies use foreign language criteria to select personnel. Foreign languages are considered a tool and expertise of the international press and media.

Other universities such as Academy of Journalism and Communication, the Diplomatic Academy, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities and so on have been training students in international majors, majors in media, majors in foreign information, and international media, etc. That means combining foreign languages with international majors, media and journalism. There are insufficient human resources covering both specialized foreign languages and press media. Most employers have to retrain their staff to provide the minimum knowledge and skills to meet the professional requirements of international media.

In the training process, although there have been some adjustments to the program, there still remains many shortcomings. Specifically, each training unit is a different type of program and subjects are inconsistent with the requirements of the content, methods, and output standards. This leads to an uneven level of qualifications of those trained; even in each facility there are differences for the same job output standard.

From the above fact, the assessment of the staff working in the international press, the international media and foreign information of the ministries, branches, provinces, cities, diplomatic agencies, organizations of people-to-people relations, etc., has varied results. Many officials have not had specialized training or were transferred from foreign language training institutions, journalism or less related fields to working at international press agencies, in the international media or in foreign information .

Secondly, the training of international press personnel is an important foundation for the work of foreign information staff and international media. Since 2005, the Faculty of International Relations, the Academy of Journalism and Communication has been one of the first training institutions responsible for providing the country with the human resources for foreign information personnel, meeting the requirements of this mission in the new era. Students in foreign information majors are equipped with knowledge of journalism, media and international relations; trained to be strong in political will, they have the right awareness and views on modern international relations issues; the core training content is to provide specialized foreign language skills that can meet the requirements for foreign affairs staff. Students have good English skills and are professionally trained to have the knowledge and skills needed in journalism and communication.

Among the above factors, the equipping of knowledge and skills in international relations, diplomacy and foreign affairs at different levels and the knowledge and skills in international journalism and international media are the key goals. All three components of the above training curriculum have been established and implemented on the basis of the standards of staff in international media, foreign information, and the press.

Those three components focus on a few key points:

Required and sufficient knowledge: A bachelor’s degree in international media and foreign information should provide personnel with basic understanding of Vietnamese and the international press as well as the knowledge on Vietnamese and international press issues.

Beginning with basic political awareness, students distinguish between the concepts and views on the history of journalism to be able to obtain the right approach to modern journalism and international media. Thereby, revealing the political attitude, professional bravery and ability to cope with the events of political and journalistic life in the country and in the world.

Professional skills in intensive journalism: The features of foreign journalism are high levels internationalization, so in regards to professional skills, students should have an approach commensurate with the scope of the needs of international journalism and the role of international press such as the use of available technical equipment, keeping pace with modern journalism in modern environments, and accessing information sources of the world’s knowledge base in different languages.

Thirdly, the shortcomings in the training practice of the foreign press and international media should be overcome as soon as possible. Although the current training program has been adjusted, it has not paid much attention to the training of journalistic skills, especially its application to international journalism.

The subjects still focus on theory without much time for practice. The duration of the subjects are inappropriate in regards to requirements set forth. Not enough time is used on parts of the program used to teach subjects important to training necessery journalism skills or those that focus on the skills needed to creat works of various types of journalism.

Students majoring in international relations with a focus on diplomacy have been forced to reduce subjects on practical journalistic knowledge and skills and only journalism theory subjects remain. Besides, the equipment for specialized training is almost nonexistent, students mainly learn theory, not practice. The teaching staff on journalism is still insufficient. Reinforcement of the lecturers with practical experience in international journalism and communication is essential to enable them to both teach theory and share practical experiences.

3. Proposing a number of unified solutions to train foreign press staff

Pay attention to the input selection process for specialized majors. Previously, in order to select students for journalism majors, there was a journalism aptitude test to detect students with literary ability and sufficient political and social perception. The entrance exams are all Group C of the national university entrance exam (including three role subjects: Literature, History and Geography). Currently, the trends for developing journalism are diverse and rich in forms, requiring many professional abilities, therefore entrance from a general exam is considered as a necessary condition. However, focusing on talent and foreign-language ability is necessary. Therefore, the first criterion is to increase the selection of students in Group D (including three subjects: Mathematics, Literature and Foreign Languages). Group D is the Group with better foreign language basis than other Groups, which can reduce the need for a number of students from Group C.

The change in the form of enrollment in university majors with the priority of doubling the foreign language coefficient has brought some changes in the input sources, however, it has still not been possible to solve the problem of choosing a career for those who really want to enter the labor market in the field of international media.

Also, it is necessary to put greater attention to the task of retraining: It is suggested to select staff with foreign language skills and experience in diplomatic activities to train them in the press media section or vice versa. This is to equip staff with all “three components” as mentioned above.

Regarding the needed equipment and facilities for training: training institutions should be equipped with the essential equipment for training in journalism and communication such as cameras, camcorders, studio equipment, internet equipment and so on. Another suggestion is that there should be a coordinated plan for students to practice using the equipment of press and media agencies through training and internship. The trend of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in media also poses many challenges that require changes in teaching and equipping facilities for training more closely with increasingly demanding job requirements.

About training programs and methods: Increase practice time and internships for students at press agencies, international press and international media, innovate forms of internship, practice, tests to evaluate the results, change the graduation exam forms with specific characteristics for students majoring in foreign information, foreign journalism and international media in particular, and training disciplines close to international media in general.

Strengthening and extending practice-related learning through the organization of journalistic products, especially foreign press, such as making English-language newspaper pages or foreign-language products in Vietnamese. Besides the English language, attention should be paid to extending the training for students of international media in foreign languages ​​such as Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish, etc.

Coordinating between training institutions and employers: Strengthening close coordination with international press agencies and media to help students improve practical skills, internships, and linking theory with practice as part of the learning process.

In order to link theory with practice, it is necessary to focus on training the following key international journalistic and communication skills:

Firstly, on the basis of specialized foreign language subjects studied in the program and the graduation standards, it is necessary to regularly practice the translation of foreign press works and products, including translating from Vietnamese to English and vice versa.

Secondly, strengthen the creation of journalistic works in English associated with regularly approaching and interviewing foreigners and other similar approaches. This task is carried out regularly on radio and television programs, print news, and online newspapers that are currently on foreign assignment. Students should actively create works independently or under the guidance of journalists with practical experiences.

Thirdly, creating conditions for students to practice and apply their knowledge of international politics, diplomacy and foreign affairs by participating in foreign media events at press agencies and diplomatic agencies. Through participation in international media events and activities, students can practice their media skills in the role of media event organizers.

It is essential to develop and renew standard training frameworks for training majors in international journalism and international media. This requires a good combination of training in foreign information and international media majors with foreign language majors. Developing content, determining methods in teaching, learning and practice are important factors that create quality of human resources for international media.

In order to achieve effective training, focusing on building a suitable teaching staff and training program, while at the same time focusing on the necessary and sufficient technical conditions should be given special importance. Only in this way can we meet the new requirements in foreign affairs set forth by the 13th National Party Congress and meet the practical requirements of the international press and international media in the current period.

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Received: 7th August 2022; Revised: 8th August 2022; Accepted for Publication: 22th August 2022.

ASSOC.PROF., DR. NGUYEN NGOC OANH

Academy of Journalism and Communication

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