Vietnam’s Human Capital: Remarkable Education Success and Future Challenges

Sachiko Kataoka, Le Anh Vinh, Sandhya Kitchlu, Keiko Inoue, The World Bank (2020)

Education policymakers around the world marvel at Vietnam’s success in providing access to general education and in boosting learning outcomes. Despite its relatively low level of economic development, Vietnamese students outperform students in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on average in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). What are the secrets to this success? Following decades of colonization and conflict, Vietnam has transformed into an “emerging dragon” across multiple social and economic sectors, including education. This note follows the evolution of postwar Vietnam’s education system and highlights some of the key reforms implemented from 1975 to the present. It provides the Vietnamese government’s rationale for the reforms it pursued, the primary reasons for their success, and the challenges encountered along the way.
This note illustrates that Vietnam’s education system shares common characteristics with other successful education systems in East Asia, including the government’s strong commitment to educational development, supported by high accountability mechanisms; relatively high public spending with a focus on investing in general education, basic inputs, and equity, together with high household investment in education; attracting and supporting qualified teachers; strong investment in preschool education; and strategic use of assessments. The Vietnamese government’s unshakable commitment to improving people’s learning, together with high accountability and autonomy for schools, supported by a strong internal and external monitoring and reporting mechanism, have driven the continuous expansion and improvement of the education system.

For more information, please read at: Vietnam’s Human Capital: Remarkable Education Success and Future Challenges

Kataoka, Sachiko; Vinh, Le Anh; Kitchlu, Sandhya; Inoue, Keiko.2020. Vietnam’s Human Capital: Education Success and Future Challenges (English). Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group.