History of robotics education program to Vietnam National University (2018 EDU-Port Certified Projects: Chiba Institute of Technology)

2020/04/27

Abstract:Provision of educational contents including curriculum, and teacher training support in EDU-Port certified project by The Chiba Institute of Technology

1. Background and introduction of activities conducted

Background

In Vietnam, The Hanoi National University-University of Engineering and Technology (VNU-UET), formerly known as the Hanoi branch of the Vietnam National University, recognizing the urgency of strengthening the robotics field, decided to establish the first robotics department in Vietnam in 2017. VNU-UET executives requested the cooperation of The Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT) after noticing that the curriculum of our department of advanced robotics emphasizes on practical exercise courses to understand theory, rather than focusing on theory first (our slogan being "Practice makes perfect" -Narauyori Narero). We agreed that the Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) would carry out the actual supports with the collaboration of the Department of Advanced robotics.

Preparation

CIT provided the practical knowledge to establish and operate a new department, since there was no robotics department in Vietnam at that time. CIT also offered recommendations on relevant areas such as developing lists of necessary lecturers, areas of robotic department, development of the curriculum throughout 4 university years, documentation for experiments, and exercises, lists of equipment for laboratories, related books/literature for the library. Regarding curriculum, both the course names and the contents of each of the courses were based upon those from fuRo. For practical courses we also prepared and shared with VNU-UET the contents for the lectures, lists of necessary equipment, machinery and tools (including model number) in laboratories, lists of over 3,000 pieces of literature in relation to robotics. To facilitate the establishment, and operation of the new Department based on the above mentioned lists we conducted the following activities;

Activities in FY 2018

  • Invited 3 young researchers from VNU-UET to Japan to be instructed in basic contents, the implementation method for the 1st year course, the methodology for robot production, etc.
  • The 1st robot program in Vietnam begun in September 2018. Then, 60 students studied following the curriculum developed based on fuRo's one.
  • Short-term intensive lectures of "Robot calculus" (24 classes/50-minutes each) were conducted by Japanese lecturers.
  • Japanese lecturers visited Vietnam to observe the courses, monitor the progress of the curriculum, and to confirm the implementation of effective education.
  • Workshops on "robotic education and research" were conducted for the universities, high school teachers/students, company recruiters, etc. to further raise the awareness of the project.
  • Researchers from fuRo visited Vietnam to instruct on robot development.


2. Detailed activities and some outcomes in FY 2019

  • Invitation of Vietnamese faculty members (July 2019): following last year, we invited two young researchers to Japan. In addition to basic robot technology, they specially learnt the methods of instruction for the 2nd year courses.
  • Launch of robotics department: which began to operate in September 2019, with the additional recruitment of 60 new students, the total number became 120.
  • Workshops (September 2019): we, both VNU-UET and CIT, conducted workshops for university-related people, high school teachers/students, company recruiters, and staffs of The Embassy of Japan in Vietnam.
  • Two Japanese lecturers conducted short-term intensive lectures (24 classes of 50 minutes each) on "Basic mathematics", and "Robot mechanics" (September 2019).
  • Confirmation of the curriculum operation (September 2019): Japanese lecturers visited Vietnam to observe the progress of the courses, and monitored the operation of the curriculum. Both parties confirmed that the education method introduced was effective.
  • Development of "Guide robot" (November 2019): Vietnamese lecturers developed a guide robot through the technical instruction by fuRo. The robot was presented to H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam. Later, the Vietnamese Government officially approved the new Department.


3. Future prospects and the possibility to expand to other countries

We consider that the appropriate timing to end our technical support would be when the first batch of students graduate, and all 4 grades are filled with students. Vietnamese researchers still need to learn how to teach on most advanced robot research for the senior courses. There is also a plan to introduce a graduation thesis which is essential in Japanese-style science, and engineering education. Moreover, the next goal would be establishing a Graduate School since the nature of robot research has still a lot of fields to cover. Finally, we have had some requests from other Universities in Vietnam to spread the project. The excitement and gratitude we perceived from teachers/students of VNU-UET was such that we do not have any doubt that the development of robotics in Vietnam would continue growing, not only nationwide, but we also believe there are other educational institutions internationally who can benefit from our educational philosophy. If there is any opportunity, we would like to expand this project to other countries, as well.

Group photo: After intensive course of
"Robot calculus" (January 2019).

fuRo researcher (left) instructing on
robot technology (January 2019).

Questions and answers during
"Basic mathematics" course (September 2019).

Demonstration by Vietnamese students
during workshop (September 2019).

Presentation of a guide robot "FUSO",
developed with the support of fuRo
(Center: H.E . Mr. Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam,
November 2019) .

 

© MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY-JAPAN -Dissemination of Japanese-style Education Using Public-Private Collaborative Platform (EDU-Port Japan Project)