A classroom in Vietnam. Credit: GPE/Koli Banik
  • Vietnam joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2003.
  • The Education Development Strategic Plan covers the period 2011-2020 and provides the context and structure for improvements in the education sector. Vietnam also has an Education For All Action Plan that was updated in 2012.
  • The EFA Action plan focuses on equity and improving the quality of education for primary schools, especially in disadvantaged areas.
  • Vietnam has received one GPE grant of $84.6 million for the Vietnam Escuela Nueva project, which introduces the use of new and child-centered teaching and learning practices in primary school classrooms.
  • The project began in 2013 and has contributed to the following outcomes:
    • Distributing materials for primary grades to 1,447 schools benefitting 439,985 students.
    • Training 33,424 primary education teachers and administrators.

    Source: World Bank Implementation Status Report - May 2015

Education in Vietnam

Vietnam recognizes education as a national priority. Since 2008, the government has been spending 20% of its budget on education. The government’s strong commitment to education and longstanding cultural and social support for education have led to significant progress in the sector.

Vietnam has high primary school completion rates, strong gender parity, low student/teacher ratios, and a low out of school rate. The country policy “Fundamental School Quality Level Standards” provided universal access to education and ensured that minimal conditions were met in every primary school.

Despite these achievements, the country still faces some challenges. Access and quality are still concerns for lower secondary education and quality is limited in remote areas. Accessing and completing education is a greater challenge for female students and ethnic minorities.

The overall objectives of the Education Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) are to renovate the education system, move closer to regional and international quality standards, and ensure social equity and lifelong learning opportunities.

The EDSP outlines further objectives for all levels of education:

  1. Achieve universal early childhood and care education to ensure that all children have the proper intellectual, emotional, and physical development necessary to enter primary school.
  2. Improve and maintain the quality of universal lower secondary education and pursue universal upper secondary education in economically disadvantaged localities.
  3. Strengthen ethnic minority boarding schools and provide inclusive education at all levels.
  4. Restructure the vocational education system, establish new colleges that respond to learning needs, and ensure that students are equipped with the professional skills to participate in the international labor market.
  5. Expand non-public higher education and provide more university preparatory institutions for ethnic minorities.
  6. Diversify various forms of continuing education and create life-long learning opportunities to continuously improve professional qualifications.

The EDSP also covers nine strategic solutions focused on renovating education management, expanding the education institution network, developing human resources, and strengthening investment and training.

As part of its national education plans, Vietnam also has an Education For All Action Plan for 2003-2015, which was updated in 2012.

Sources: Education Development Strategic Plan 2011-2020, Vietnam EFA Action Plan 2003-2015, World Bank – Vietnam Education Data


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Vietnam

The Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project began in early 2013. The project’s objective is to introduce and use new and child-centered teaching and learning practices in the classroom targeting the most disadvantaged groups at the primary level.

It is an adaptation of the well-known Escuela Nueva Program in Colombia, where students engage in various individual and group work and teachers act as facilitators of learning, rather than spending time reading and writing on the board.

The four components of the grant are:

  1. Support the development of learning guides and other materials for teachers, schools, and communities, as well as capacity building to education administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders in material development.
  2. Support the development of training materials, delivering trainings, and providing materials.
  3. Provide school level support for Escuela Nueva implementation through school campus sub-grants, school equipment and furniture, teaching and learning aids, training activities, and extra-curricular activities. This component also supports providing grants to selected schools in most disadvantaged areas.
  4. Provide support for project management at central and provincial levels and for knowledge management, classroom assessment, and an impact evaluation.

The Ministry of Education and Training leads the program with the World Bank as the supervising entity and UNESCO as the coordinating agency of the Local Education Group, called the Education Sector Group.

Source: Vietnam Program Document – Escuela Nueva Project


The GPE program has contributed to significant progress in the education sector. These results include:

  • Distributed full sets of Escuela Nueva materials for primary grade levels to 1,447 schools benefitting 439,985 students.
  • Developed 58 learning and teaching guides and trained 33,424 primary education teachers and administrators.
  • Completed a qualitative study comparing classrooms participating in the Escuela Nueva project to those not participating.

The program has been an important innovation that is changing the pedagogy, from the traditional teacher-to-student style to a student-centered one in Vietnam. It also integrates community activities and parents into learning (using farming, embroidery, market activities), which makes learning more relevant and enjoyable.

Beyond the above, the government has already expanded Escuela Nueva to 1,000 additional schools with their own resources. The Escuela Nueva experience will also feed into the overall curriculum reform that is currently being prepared.

Source: World Bank Implementation Status Report - May 2015