Education in Vietnam

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Vietnams commitment to education

Vietnams commitment to education can be seen by it’s huge investment in public and private schools.

The Government believes that a healthy mix of education and hard work is the key to success , both for the people and the country.

The bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City are normally packed with children who are seemingly always on their way to school or extra classes.

School and teacher quality

Lately Vietnam has increased enrollment of students while trying to work out and enforce some  minimum quality standards for its’ school facilities countrywide. Is it being successful, only time will tell.

Teacher quality is also a major concern, and Vietnam has laid a good foundation by trying to make its teachers more professional and accountable. Vietnamese culture holds teachers in high regards.

But It is still unfortunate that they are not paid as professionals should be.In a lot of cases the teachers have to provide private tuition outside of normal teaching hours to survive.

Is it getting better?

In a nutshell, yes it is. However there is still a long way to go. When you are teaching English in a classroom and see your classroom teacher, who is meant to be helping, combing a students hair you have to wonder about quality.

Vietnam looks for ideas from abroad. The ministry of education studies curriculum reform in high-performing countries like Korea and Singapore.

Vietnam have also introduced several initiatives from other countries that have developed new ideas. New teaching methods like the Escuela Nueva program from Colombia. And they have also introduced new reforms in K – !2 classes as well as some higher education reforms.

There are times when you bang your head against the wall in pure frustration but Vietnam education is heading in the right direction.


There is a lot to improve.

There are quality improvements that need to be fixed and a lot of gaps that need to be closed

There are still over thirty percent of children not moving up to secondary school and there are a lot of parents who still can not afford to send their children to school.

There is a huge challenge for the Government of Vietnam  to reduce absenteeism and early leavers .Low income families look to their children as providers and take them out of schools to work on farms if needed.

Another challenge for the Government is to stop bribe taking. The MOET was voted as the worst performing and most corrupt Government body in Vietnam.

As well as this a lot of the private schools ( Those that teach English) will provide certificates of attainment for cash.

On top of that a lot of the textbooks are very old fashioned and boring for the students. Apart from being incorrect in some cases. Quite often I find myself correcting the official Government supplied scholastic books.

So there are a lot of challenges, however in the 15 years I have been here it is improving. The Government of Vietnam is trying to improve the education market, but they have a lot of other problems as well.

The basic skills that have been provided in the past will not be enough for Vietnam to move ahead. There is a definite need for the introduction of a more comprehensive education system and a better reward system for its teachers.

Education in Vietnam

Pre-school or kindergarten (which is optional) is offered from the age of about 18 months, in Vietnam, with compulsory schooling from the age of six. Only five years of primary education are deemed mandatory.

After primary school, children move on to lower secondary education  and upper secondary education

Pre-school Optional for children aged between 18 months and five years olds .Fees may be payable, and kindergartens are more commonly found in major cities. Although child care centers are in most regional areas.

Primary School Compulsory from age six to 11 for all children Education at primary level is free for the morning however if the student learns in the afternoon the parents have to pay some money.

Secondary School Secondary education is divided into lower and upper programs. Not compulsory but parents want their children to succeed and will try their hardest to educate their children. Again there is a cost involved.

The Road Ahead. 

The next step for Vietnam is to provide better quality schooling that creates higher-order cognitive and behavioral skills (such as creative and critical thinking) for more young people.

Will it be achieved with the existing Government body, MOET., the Ministry of Education and Training. That remains to be seen. However they are working on designing more creative competence based programs for both students and teachers.

If Vietnam can clean up the internal structure of its official government department of education, that too would help.

While governmental reform is an important step, the other changes should be in how to deliver content in the classroom.

Better learning and teaching methods.

There are still a lot of Vietnamese and foreign teachers who are not providing good content in the classroom. This needs to change.

Many teachers are still teaching passively and not engaging the students. This really comes down to teaching style. 

Active student based approaches that are fun and entertaining are not common in the classroom. However there is change happening. Some teachers are realizing that to get the students attention and turn it into a learning activity, they themselves need to change.

If you look at the picture above you will see activities that make learning fun and easy to remember for the student.

When I have taught at different schools in Vietnam I have seen practises that have been out of date for a long time. Rote learning and teacher centred approaches are still the norm and the kids are bored. The teachers stand in front of the class, write on the board and say copy.

Is change going to happen? Yes and to help bridge these gaps policy makers have assured that there will be a comprehensive update of both books and teaching styles. Let us hope that it is sooner rather than later.

Change will only happen if it is implemeted by the Government. Teachers need better pay..Yes. Teachers need better resources..Yes. Teachers need to improve their skillsets..Yes.

Is it getting better.. yes.

Can I help?

Yes, and one of the best ways is to become a teacher of English in Vietnam. We provide so much, in and out of the classroom, that with your help we can change lives.

Teaching EFL.

English as a Foreign Language, or EFL, refers to learning and using English as an additional language in a non-English speaking country. It can be compared with ESL ( English as a Second Language ) and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages ), which mainly refers tolearning English as a new resident in an English-speaking country.

For more information about teaching in Vietnam and EFl please look at my website

. ==> Great teachers <==

In Conclusion.

Vietnam is a vibrant and exciting country and a joy to teach in. There are cultural differences and challenges that will face you if you come here. Whether it is for holiday or to work. you will never have a dull moment. I challenge you to come. It is an experience that will stay with you for your whole life.

I welcome all comments and reply to everyone. So if you have any comments please leave a comment.

If you want to find out more about me, look here. Steve.

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4 thoughts on “Education in Vietnam”

  1. Hey there Steve,

    This a very insightful article on the education in Vietnam. To be honest I know very litle about Vietnam or its people but this article helps me understand a little about Vietnam and its educational system. I do have friends that are teachers and some of them are considering teaching abroad. These are friends that got into teaching not for money but more for educating people which is what they love. I will be sure to share this article with them. Thank you



    1. Thanks Lawrence.

      When Vietnam opens up again after the Covid lockdown it will need experienced Teachers. I hope your friends consider a move that is beneficial to both them and others. They can also find more information about life and teaching on my website. 

      Thanks for the comments.


  2. I have been very critical of our education system. And I know there are so many good things about it, but we tend to concentrate on the flaws. So, I was wondering how Vietnam was doing concerning this important topic. I really liked what you said that Vietnamese culture holds teachers in high regards. That is important. And the overall feeling that they are seeing progress makes me happy. Thanks for this post.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thanks for your perceptive reply. Yes it is all to often that we criticize something without looking at the progress that has been made. Vietnam has had so many problems in the past and is slowly working its way forward. The government has many problems to tackle and education is but one. However, in my opinion, one of the most important. Progress is being made by the official government bodies studying overseas learning methods. And change is happening with the new generation of teachers. Thanks for your comments. you can find out more on my website 

      All the best

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