Current picture of education in Vietnam

Strengths and weaknesses of the Vietnamese education

When it comes to education, both positive and somewhat concerning news are coming from Vietnam.

On the bright side, for a few years in a row, Vietnamese students are performing exceptionally well on international student assessment tests, such as PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), which assesses students in the fields of science, mathematics, reading, problem solving and financial literacy.

The newest data shows that, within Southeast Asia (SEA), Vietnamese students are among the best academic performers, only trailing behind peers from Singapore. However, it is not only the SEA region where Vietnamese students are competitive. Local students have surpassed fellow students from developed countries, including the OECD countries such as France, Germany, US and UK.

Vietnam’s rankings on PISA 2017 (assessing 15-year old students, among 72 countries)

  • 8th position in scientific performance
  • 22nd in mathematics
  • 32nd in reading

On the pessimistic side, while the output of the Vietnamese education system in primary and secondary education levels shows positive results, the quality in higher-education is lacking. According to analysts, and based on different reports (e.g. World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Report), the quality of higher education and training, one of the main efficiency and productivity enhancing elements for a nation, are still ranked higher in the neighbouring SEA countries. While different solutions have been proposed, and new government regulations implemented, results are yet to come.

A relatively new phenomenon that Vietnam is currently seeing, and that has the potential to improve the higher-education quality, is establishment of foreign universities’ campuses in the country. While Australian RMIT and US Fulbright University are two best known examples, a new establishment is about to be formed through a cooperation between Cornell University of the US, and Vietnamese conglomerate VinGroup.

The brand new VinUniversity will be located in Hanoi, and will focus on three key industries: healthcare, technology and business. VinUniversity’s stakeholders hope to meet the QS 5-star rating standards, the highest rank issues from the British education organization Quacquarelli Symonds, which would make the university the first Vietnamese higher-education institution with such appraisal.

Original sources (1, 2)

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