‘Intellectual’ field: education reformers and conformers

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Education in the Asia-Pacific Region, 2019, 48 pp. 159 - 184
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© 2019, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. This chapter addresses the ‘intellectual’ field and focuses on the higher education sector. The practical experiences of returnees working in Vietnamese universities provide a neat instance of the high-skilled returnee experience, hinging on the dialectic of agency and structure. The chapter first describes the context of universities development in Vietnam and some of the opportunities and challenges that overseas-educated academics may encounter. Drawing on survey and interview data, the next section discusses the utility of overseas-acquired skills, knowledge and attributes across public and private universities. This is followed by accounts of returnees’ experiences in their teaching, research and career pathway in academia. The last part of the empirical discussion draws on the survey results to present returnees’ achieved functionings in terms of job roles, income levels and job satisfaction. The concluding section summarises the key findings and explication of the Sen-Bourdieu concepts of normative agency and situated freedom. It identifies some implications for Vietnamese universities in receiving overseas-educated academics.
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