For the Vietnamese youth, education is very competitive. Getting into a good university is believed to determine the student’s success in their career. High school students are required to take a university entrance examination test in order to get into their preferred selected university. Apart from enrolling into universities, students may also enter other types of higher education institutions which include junior colleges, mono-specialized universities, multi-disciplinary universities and research institutes. Public open universities are also an option for students.
With a gradual increase of academic staff, there has been more spending towards personnel training as well as funding in research and development. Despite the huge amount of spending, Vietnam’s higher education still faces some challenges regarding research and publications, which is an important criteria for choosing a degree to those in the Asia Pacific region. The number of Master’s degree students and doctoral students is still relatively low in the population although it has increased in recent years. This increase has led to more academic publications with a trade off of quality and quantity.
Although Vietnamese universities have yet to reach the reputation of the top ten universities in the Asia Pacific region, academic institutions are still working towards attracting qualified students through their national university rankings. The most prestigious universities are Vietnam National University that is located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as Hue University, University of Da Nang and Thai Nguyen University. Some other universities have also chosen to develop into a more research-oriented institution, for example the Vietnamese-German University, the Hanoi University of Science and Technology and the Vietnam-Japan University.
In conclusion, higher education in Vietnam stands very competitive for Vietnamese students. Academic progress in terms of post-graduate education and scientific publication is still an ongoing challenge that could, if successful, improve the standards of higher education in Vietnam.