The Vietnamese Education System – What You Need To Know

Vietnam education system

If you have recently moved to Vietnam with your children, are considering doing so, or have recently found out you are expecting your first child, you will need to understand the Vietnam education system in order to start planning for your children’s education.

Altogether there are 5 different stages in the country’s education system which are as follows:

  • Pre-primary
  • Primary
  • Intermediate
  • Secondary
  • Higher Education

Children will enjoy a basic education that lasts for 12 years. This is based on half-day schedules. After this they move onto college, university, while some will go straight into work.

Education is an important part of the local people’s life. It is one of the core values in society to devote to study and is seen as a way to advance in life. Because of this there is a lot of demand for a good education, but unfortunately, the system cannot often meet this high demand.

Vietnamese families devote a great deal of time and invest a lot of money sending their kids to good schools hoping to ensure that they get a good education.

The Quality of Education in Vietnam

We mentioned in one of the previous articles that the healthcare system could strongly benefit from reforms, well the education system could also strongly benefit. It is definitely the case for higher education schools as many do not meet international standards. Because of this, many schools are often unable to offer a well-rounded learning system.

One of the main issues that the education system faces is that teachers are using out-of-date teaching methods. Rather than focusing on interactions and discussion, teachers tend to focus more on discipline.

However, there are many local children who graduate successfully and go on to work for large international companies both at home and abroad.

Government officials have recognized that reform is needed and in the latter part of 2013 the government agreed to a resolution which is aimed at overhauling the sector. A project was launched with the goal of producing an English-proficient generation to the workforce by 2020. These are bold projections which many people do not believe to be achievable.

However, the education system has now received international investment. In addition to the investment that they made into the healthcare sector, the World Bank has also invested $150 million USD in two sums in the hope of improving the education system.

Quality of Vietnamese Teaching

The quality of teaching in a Vietnamese classroom largely depends on the teacher themselves. If your children attend a local school they most likely will be expected to be studious and passively attentive, which may be an issue if they are already used to active interaction which is taught in Western schools.

You will often find that public schools lack in funding which can result in a reduced curriculum. Because of this, private language schools are very popular and sought after. Private language schools offer English lessons as a second language to students of any age and are most often taught by expats.

International Schools

Major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer expats a variety of international schooling options.

International schools almost always employ native English speakers and natives who have trained in the affiliated countries of the school.

The greatest advantage to sending an expat child to an international school for their education is that it also helps them adjust to life in the country with greater ease. Your child or children will be able to interact with other student in similar situations and who are facing similar challenges trying to adjust to their new surroundings.

International schools will usually allow foreign students to continue studying the same curriculum that they are used to studying in their home country. They usually also accept applications throughout the year to accommodate the unpredictable nature of expat placements.

It is advisable to start the application process as soon as you can. Places at international schools tend to fill up fast, so it is best to get your application in early to avoid disappointment.

Application criteria varies between schools but you may find that your child is tested on their English and Maths ability. Other criteria may involve an interview with the student before a formal offer is made. A non-refundable application fee may also be ask for.

International school fees are generally high and increase along with the age of the student.