What Is The Education Like In Vietnam?


Education in Vietnam is a priority, viewed as essential for passing knowledge and skills from one generation to the next. Despite facing some challenges, Vietnam’s education system is on a path of continual improvement, marked by increased funding and strategic reforms. The country boasts high primary school completion rates and low student-teacher ratios. Additionally, Vietnam has implemented the “Fundamental School Quality Level Standards” to ensure all children have access to education that meets basic standards. But what is the education like in Vietnam today? Let’s delve into the details of Vietnam’s educational landscape.

General Education System In Vietnam

The Ministry of Education and Training is in charge of the Vietnamese education system, which includes the following important levels: preschool, primary school, secondary school, high school, and higher education. Twelve years of basic education are intended to be provided:

  • Pre-school Education: Schools start accepting kids ages 18 months to five years old for preschool. It focuses on core subjects including the alphabet and simple math, particularly for children aged four and five. Preschool is quite popular in urban areas, even though it’s not required. Parents can choose to start formal schooling earlier.
  • Primary Education: which is obligatory, begins at the age of six and continues for five years. At this level, homeroom teachers teach essential subjects including literature, math, history, and geography, while specialists teach art, music, and physical education. No entrance exam is needed to progress to secondary school.
  • Secondary School: Lasts four years, from grades six to nine, and includes a variety of topic teachers. To attend high school, students must pass a national exam after completing grade 9. Those who do not intend to continue can pursue vocational training instead.
  • High School: Entry into high school is often competitive, with entrance exams determining which schools students can attend. High school focuses more on career orientation and specialization in major subjects, typically moving away from broader courses like art and music. After grade 12, students face a university entrance examination if they wish to pursue higher education.
  • Higher Education: Vietnam offers a wide choice of possibilities for those who want to continue their education beyond high school, including universities, vocational schools, junior and senior colleges, and so on. This adaptability guarantees that a variety of professional and educational goals can be met.

International Education In Vietnam

Vietnam’s international education has seen significant growth, positioning the country as a hub for global learning. As one of the top five countries worldwide in terms of newly opened international schools, Vietnam boasts over 120 international schools, as reported by the International Schools Database in 2022. These schools, primarily located in major cities, therefore you can easily find an international school ho chi minh city or Ha Noi. These schools offer programs from kindergarten to high school, featuring prestigious international curricula. This setup allows students to receive a global education locally, which is cost-effective compared to studying abroad.

Many Vietnamese universities are enhancing their offerings by adding more international partnerships, which align with global educational standards and broaden the academic perspectives of their students. For younger learners, Vietnam offers programs like the Australian or UK international curriculum alongside traditional local education, enabling students to obtain an international education without leaving the country.

But these developments mainly cater to wealthy families looking for prestigious educational opportunities for their children. The rise of such international schools underscores Vietnam’s commitment to integrating into the global education landscape, but also highlights the need to address disparities in access to education. around the country.

The Ranking Of Vietnam In Education

The Ministry of Education and Training informed on May 6 that according to the ranking results of the best countries for education in 2021 by the US News and World Report (USNEWS), Vietnam ranked 59th, up 6 places compared to 2020. This is considered a positive change in the Vietnamese education sector recognised and ranked by international organisations.

The 2021 Best Countries for Education are ranked based on a perception-based global survey, which used a compilation of scores from three equally weighted country attributes: having a well-developed public education system, whether people would consider attending university there and if that country provides a top-quality education, according to the site.

Vietnamese children have the highest proficiency in both reading and mathematics of all low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to a new UNESCO report.

According to the 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report, of the 31 low- and lower-middle-income countries, only Vietnam has a majority of children achieving minimum proficiency in both reading and mathematics at the end of primary school, with a rate of 91% for reading and 81% for mathematics.

Challenges And Solutions

Vietnam’s education system is experiencing rapid growth and offering students access to international curricula, yet this progress presents unique challenges. Integrating international standards within Vietnam’s existing framework and ensuring these educational opportunities are available to all segments of society are major tasks.

The country’s young demographic, with a large portion of the population under 30, demands significant educational reforms and innovations. Despite high primary school completion rates and strong gender parity, disparities in education quality, particularly between urban and rural areas, pose ongoing challenges. Moreover, the curriculum needs continuous updates to align with global standards and the demands of an increasingly globalized economy.

Infrastructure in remote areas also lacks quality facilities, adequate technology, and connectivity which hinders educational management and learning processes. These areas often suffer from a shortage of IT infrastructure and connectivity equipment, making it difficult to implement digital transformations.

It’s clear that Vietnam’s education system is evolving against a backdrop of broader socio-economic challenges. Improving the quality of education is not solely dependent on willpower or effort but it dependent on all the surrounding aspects. Enhancing management quality comprehensively is essential to ensure the success of ongoing reforms and improvements in education.

One fundamental approach to improve educational outcomes is to innovate in both thinking and management styles, aiming to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Diversifying financial resources is also vital. By implementing flexible tuition policies that reflect the diversity of educational goals, subjects, and services, we can ensure adequate material resources are available to enhance educational quality.

Moreover, education in remote and mountainous areas needs special attention to ensure no region is left behind. Creating more job opportunities and developing education programs tailored to local needs can empower students to participate in the workforce if further education isn’t feasible, thereby contributing to socio-economic development.

Partnering with globally renowned universities could also be transformative. Such collaborations could help build new schools, provide cutting-edge educational technology, and establish scholarship programs, all of which would support a robust educational infrastructure across Vietnam. These measures are crucial for lifting the national education system and ensuring it can meet the challenges of the future.


So, after reading this article, do you have a better understanding of what is the education like in Vietnam? I hope this has helped you grasp more about both the general and international educational systems in Vietnam. Knowing this can strengthen your decision-making on how to choose a school for your child amid the myriad of options available.

For parents looking for an international school Ho Chi Minh City, consider ISHCMC. As the first IB World School in the city, ISHCMC has been leading with its innovative approach to education for over 30 years, combining excellent pedagogy, curriculum, modern facilities, and a wealth of extracurricular activities. This insight should serve as a valuable resource in understanding the importance of education in Vietnam and making informed choices for your child’s educational future.

Abdul Basit Beyond Boundaries

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