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Education Profiles

Education Overview



Administration and Finance
The funding and administration of education in Vietnam is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Training. Approximately 15% of the state budget is allocated to education.  Money is paid directly to institutions through local People’s Committees, which provide guidance in making administrative decisions.  Because much of the funds allocated for education come from local sources, relatively poor areas have less money available for educational purposes.  Primary and lower secondary schools although established by local authorities, fall under the responsibility of the Department of General Education as regards staffing, curriculum, textbooks, examinations and certificates.
At higher educational institutions, the amount of tuition paid by students is determined by a committee of university administrators.   All universities charge the same amount of tuition.  The Ministry of Education and Training provides over half of the funding needed for institutional operating expenses.
In 1997, there were 22 million students enrolled in all levels of education in Vietnam.  Among them 13.2 million in primary schools, 4.3 million in secondary schools, and 26,000 were in enrolled in colleges and universities.
Pre-higher education in Vietnam is divided into primary, lower secondary, upper secondary and technical and vocational secondary education.  Students enter primary programmes at age six and must remain in school until completion of primary education, which marks the end of compulsory education. Students who continue beyond compulsory education and complete the secondary cycle of education sit for the Bàng Tt Nghip Ph Thông Trung Hc, a universal graduation examination. Successful completion of this examination is the general admission requirement for admission into higher education. Public education at the primary and secondary level is free.
Higher education is provided by universities, polytechnics, teacher training institutes, and colleges. There are also many private institutions.  Higher education institutions are under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Training and educational authorities at the provincial level. There are over 100 higher education institutions. The universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been granted greater autonomy than other higher education institutions. Faculties of Medicine are under the authority of the Ministries of Health and Education.  In addition, some academic institutions are under the control of other ministries, such as the Ministry of Law or the Ministry of Transportation.
In addition to formal university study, distance education is offered at two open universities. There are also provincial centers that offer distance education.  Several universities offer non-formal extra-mural education in areas such as rural development, draughtsmanship, agriculture, and animal husbandry.
Vietnamese is the language of instruction at all levels of education.  
Private and Public Education
Private education is not permitted at the primary and secondary level.  However, the government has established four special upper secondary schools for gifted and talented students; Amsterdam School and Chu Van An School in Hanoi, Quoc Hoc School in Hue, and Le Hong Phong School in Ho Chi Minh City. The schools have a higher admission standard and attract students from other parts of the country. 
Academic Year
September through June.  The school year at all levels of education consists of two terms or semesters; the first begins in September and ends in February and the second begins after the end of Tét (the Vietnamese lunar New Year celebration) and concludes in late June.
Teacher Education
Four-to five-year university courses are offered for teaching at secondary school level to graduates of secondary school.  Provincial and municipal administrations offer three-year courses to train graduates of upper secondary schools to teach one main subject, plus a subsidiary subject in primary schools. Two-year courses taught at postsecondary institutions are available to enable teachers to teach at primary schools.

Revised: May 06, 2004 .
Copyright © 2001 World Education Services.
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