The Education System in Vietnam

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The Higher Education System in Vietnam

by Kristy Kelly, Director, Institute of International Education/Vietnam

Acknowledgements: This report was compiled from information provided by the World Bank and the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam. World Education Services and the US Information Agency also provided information. The Higher education system in Vietnam is in great flux, therefore, the most current data was not available to include in this document. A new Minister of Education and Training has recently been appointed, and several new presidents of the leading universities have or are about to be selected. It is expected that many important changes affecting curriculum, the structure of higher education and nature of degrees will be made in the next year.

E veryday one quarter of the total population of Vietnam is directly involved in formal education and training activities, either as students or teachers. Education is an important part of the society. It is a major preoccupation of government and is a highly valued and respected activity in Vietnamese society. The Vietnam education and training sector is large, present in almost every village and touches virtually every family. There are almost 18 million students in the education system and over 0.5 million teachers and instructors. The structure of the education system is 5-4-3 i.e., five years of primary education (grades 1-5) followed by four years of lower secondary (grades 6-9), and three years of upper secondary (grades 10-12). Higher education programs last between two and six years.

Government spending on education and training grew rapidly during the 1990's and in 1995 education and training's share of the overall discretionary State budget was about 12 percent or about 3.5% of GDP. Household expenditure on education and formal cost-recovery adds a further 2.5% of GDP. Thus, aggregate expenditures of education in 1994/95 were approximately 6% of GDP with households meeting 43% of...