Forging his path in education
Written by Josephine Tolin
ANN ARBOR – When PhD candidate Minh Huynh graduated from Dalat University in Vietnam, he earned an assistantship with the education faculty at his alma mater. It was then that he began to research academic accessibility in ethnic minority communities.
“I still remember the day I decided I wanted to go into international education policy,” said Huynh, a student in the School of Education. “I visited a classroom with blackboards at opposite ends of the room, where two classes were in session at the same time—fifth grade math on one side, third grade Vietnamese on the other.”
After he saw the educational gap in Vietnam, Huynh became committed to bridging this academic disparity.
“It’s not fair that the national test in Vietnam is the same for everyone. Students in underserved communities face resource deficits, so it’s difficult for them to perform the same as other groups of students with better facilities.”
This past year, Huynh had the opportunity to take his passion for international education policy to Paris, where he studied at the International Institute for Education Planning, run by UNESCO for six months.
“In Paris, I studied UNESCO as a whole, including its approach to equity in the education system,” Huynh explained. “I also studied how the organization works to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for education—an agreement forged by more than 150 countries.”
Since the University doesn’t have a formal degree program for international and comparative education, Huynh designed his own. With the help of his advisor, he created the curriculum and independent study opportunities for his PhD.
“One thing I appreciate about Michigan, and the School of Education in particular, is the flexibility we have in our studies. One can easily take your studies in a unique direction because of the awesome support we have here.”