In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Vietnam received a GPE grant of US$140,000 to support the Ministry of Education in planning its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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.
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The Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project began in early 2013 and closed in May 2016. The project’s objective was 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.
GPE has also provided the Vietnam Association for Education for All (VAEFA) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.
Education sector progress
The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Vietnam, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.
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 (%)
Students/trained teacher ratio
Teachers Trained (%)
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.