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 long standing 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:
- 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.
- Improve and maintain the quality of universal lower secondary education and pursue universal upper secondary education in economically disadvantaged localities.
- Strengthen ethnic minority boarding schools and provide inclusive education at all levels.
- 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.
- Expand non-public higher education and provide more university preparatory institutions for ethnic minorities.
- 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.
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 completion rate (%)
Lower secondary completion rate
Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age
Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age
Pre-primary gross enrollment rate
Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary
Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)
Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)
Students/trained teacher ratio
Teachers trained (%)
GPE in Vietnam
The Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project began in early 2013 and closed in May 2016. 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 was 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 were:
- 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.
- Support the development of training materials, delivering trainings, and providing materials.
- 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.
- Provide support for project management at central and provincial levels and for knowledge management, classroom assessment, and an impact evaluation.
In 2015, Vietnam received a US$233,650 grant from GPE to conduct an education sector analysis, to support the mid-term review of the Education Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) 2011-2020.
The GPE-funded Escuela Nueva program closed in May, 2016, and has contributed to significant progress in the education sector. These results include:
- Full sets of Escuela Nueva materials for primary grade levels were distributed to 1,447 schools.
- 446,781 students in grades 2-5 participated in Vietnam Escuela Nueva.
- 143 learning, teaching and teacher training guides were developed guides were developed.
- 52,795 primary education teachers and education administrators completed the Vietnam Escuela Nueva training
- A qualitative study comparing classrooms participating in the Escuela Nueva project to those not participating was conducted and showed that Vietnam Escuela Nueva students that were low performing in third grade tended to show higher score gains in fourth grade
Beyond the above, the government, together with local government units, has already expanded Escuela Nueva with their own resources for the benefit of 94,456 grade 6 students and 133,681 first grade students received language materials for intensive Vietnamese. The Escuela Nueva experience will also feed into the overall curriculum reform that is currently being prepared.
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.