Education in Vietnam - statistics & facts

Since the economic reforms in the 1980s, Vietnam has transitioned to a socialist-oriented market economy. Together with the privatization and restructuring of state-owned companies, the reforms have led to a continuously growing GDP for Vietnam since then. The economic growth has enabled the country to invest more in its education sector to improve the quality of the labor force. As a result, the recurrent expenditure on education and training has been increasing fast in recent years, accounting for approximately four percent of Vietnam’s GDP in 2021.

Education system in Vietnam

Managed by the Ministry of Education and Training, the education system in Vietnam consists of both public and private institutions. Although entering pre-school or kindergarten is the first stage of education for many children, the mandatory level of schooling usually starts from the age of six to seven years and consists of twelve years of education. This is divided into five years of primary education, four years of secondary education, and three years of upper secondary level. Upon entering upper secondary schools, students have the option to enroll in gifted education institutions. The curriculum from these institutions has a stronger focus on a designated subject, such as English, Literature, or Mathematics, but getting into one requires sitting for a highly-competitive additional high school entrance exam. General high schools also offer science-based, arts, and humanities specializations that are particularly relevant for students who want to pursue further education. The formal education program concludes with the National High School Graduation Examination (NHSGE), the results from which determine the entrance to universities.  

Outstanding issues and outlook of the education system in Vietnam

Vietnam’s rigorous education system has led to some health and social issues. Depression and anxiety have become more prevalent among young people, leading to overall higher suicide rates in the last decade. Meanwhile, education is perceived to be among the most corrupted sectors in Vietnam. Despite several drawbacks from the education system, it has led to positive improvements in human capital. Vietnam has a relatively high literacy rate of over 95 percent, one of the highest in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, the country has been recording an increasing amount of capital investment into digital education startups. With a young, digital-savvy population, online education is expected to have a more significant role in the future in the country.


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