Lee gave the advice to Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Le Thanh Hai during their meeting in the southern economic hub on March 13 upon his arrival for a five-day visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

The Singaporean minister said Vietnam should tackle its weakness in the English level to access advanced education programmes by sending gifted students and experienced young teachers abroad for higher education.

Back to Vietnam after graduating, these students and teachers will hand down their knowledge to juniors, thus improving Vietnamese education level, he said.

In reply, municipal Party Committee Secretary Hai emphasised that Lee’s visit and experience were highly expected in the city, recalling valuable experiences he had drawn from Singaporean cabinet members in the past.

“These experiences have contributed considerably to Vietnam’s socio-economic development in the recent past, especially in building up public confidence in the Government’s solutions and governance capacity amidst a complicated situation,” Hai said.

He added that the HCM City administration is implementing effectively high-level commitments regarding the programme of bilateral cooperation.

“Vietnam has also had good experiences in solving socio-economic problems, especially regarding policies on social welfare and poverty reduction, social security and investment promotion,” Hai concluded.

The Singaporean mentor is scheduled to visit the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Zone in the neighbouring province of Binh Duong and meet with provincial leaders before leaving for Hanoi.

Vietnam News Agency - April 14, 2009