We are the young editors, collaborators, and staff writers of Vietnamese Students magazine. Our magazine is led by youth; 90 percent of the articles are written by young people, and all the staff members are under 25. We have a widespread network of students and readers across the country, and we distribute more than 100,000 copies per week. The magazine emphasizes various topics of concern to young people, ranging from youth’s social and family problems to entertainment. We have also organized activities for young people, such as musical concerts, forums, exchange programs, and voluntary activities. Our staff have good writing and public speaking skills and have attended many international meetings. We had delegates attend the Millennium Young People’s Congress, the UN Special Session for Children, Harvard Projects for International Relations, and other governmental conferences. We are also the official voice of Vietnam’s National Youth Union. We hope that through the magazine we can raise awareness of young people’s roles and responsibilities within our society and bring about the best conditions to help young people achieve their wishes.
Vietnam’s economy has developed rapidly in recent years. After a long time working under a planned economy, we are slowly achieving a free market. The living standard has increased significantly; people have higher incomes and access to better goods and services. Industries, especially consumer industries, grew rapidly over the past few years. Vietnam opened trade relations with countries from all over the world. We have free-trade agreements with the United States, China, and Russia, and we are heading toward a totally free market in the next few years.
The status and fate of young people are more important concerns for the public. Many important positions are now passed on to young people. We can take part in the policymaking process, and our voices are now heard by politicians and government leaders. Therefore, it is extremely important for Vietnam to develop educated and skilled young people as our main human resources for the future. These young people must not only be well educated but also adaptable to economic changes. These characteristics will enable them to respond to any challenge brought on by globalization when Vietnam officially joins in free-market trade organizations, such as AFTA (Asian Free Trade Association) or WTO (World Trade Organization), in the next few years.
Our experiences suggest that Vietnamese students have a high potential to reach these goals. For example, they have good knowledge of and skills in science. However, they lack practical knowledge—the knowledge that does not appear in books—the knowledge that you can only obtain by getting yourself involved in real-world situations—the knowledge you get when you learn from your own mistakes.
Our latest survey showed that most students do not want to take the risk of opening a new business, due to a lack of information or lack of financial capacity. Furthermore, students tend to obtain degrees in economics or business management, rather than in new technology and science, which play important roles in the knowledge economy. These findings suggest to us that there should be an agency that will help young people overcome these problems, which would be an enormous benefit to young genera-tions and therefore to the nation as a whole.
A Young Entrepreneurs Club will be established and run by members of the staff of Vietnamese Students magazine. The club’s activities will be promoted weekly in every issue of the magazine. A wide range of information will be provided for students, including job listings, forums for students who seek jobs, and articles about the business experiences of entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the club will create opportunities for young people who are interested in working together to set up their own businesses. The club also aims to encourage firms to offer venture capital for students starting a business. In addition, we will organize various forums and debates on business, attended by government officers and representatives of corporations. A “Best Young Entrepreneur” award will be granted annually. The club also seeks cooperation from universities to set up local entrepreneurs clubs within each university; hence, the activities will be more widely spread to every individual.
Moreover, we will also raise funds for students’ science research projects—especially for the development of high-technology and information technology tools. We also hope to set up relations with universities around the world and invite some professors from these institutions to help young Vietnamese scientists. Students will be introduced to businesses that will be encouraged to sponsor their research. Furthermore, some of the best students with outstanding academic achievement and research backgrounds will be assisted in obtaining higher education abroad that will be beneficial to their country’s future development.
The main aim of this project is to increase the potential of human resources to contribute to a sustainable economy in the new century. This project is necessary to enhance the skills and knowledge of Vietnam’s young people, who will lead our country into the knowledge economy in the future.
Originally published on January 1, 2003