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Higher education in Vietnam - statistics & facts

Vietnam has witnessed a rapidly growing economy in recent years while having the advantage of a relatively young population. To further advance its economic development, the country has focused on refining its education system. Recurrent expenditure on education and training in Vietnam has been growing gradually, resulting in an increasing number of academic staff and institutions, particularly within the higher education sector. In 2020, there were about 3.74 thousand newly established businesses for education and training in the country.

Getting into a university in Vietnam

For the Vietnamese youth, higher education is very competitive. Getting into a good university is believed to determine the student’s success in their career. High school students conclude their general education with an exam that serves double purposes of getting their general education diploma and applying for universities. 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. While public universities, which are home to some of the most prestigious degrees in the country, are known for being affordable, the number of private university students has been growing in the past years. The private education sector offers a variety of programs from international universities and local institutions. In addition, some of Vietnam’s largest corporations, including FPT and Vingroup, have recently entered the private education sector, providing degrees specializing in supplying talents for their businesses.  

Challenge and outlook of the higher education sector in Vietnam

With a gradual increase in academic staff, there has been more spending on personnel training as well as funding in research and development. Despite the substantial amount of spending, Vietnam’s higher education still faces certain challenges regarding research and publications, which is a critical criterion for choosing a degree for many in the Asia Pacific region. Academic progress in terms of post-graduate education and scientific publications is still an ongoing challenge that, if successfully addressed, could improve the standards of higher education in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, like other sectors, Vietnamese higher education has had to face the challenge of rapidly digitalizing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online courses and exams have become the new normal for university students and lecturers during the lockdowns in 2020. As Vietnam heads towards industry 4.0, education has a significant role in shaping a digitally equipped workforce. In turn, this sector will continue to benefit from digital transformations in the future.

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