Education in Vietnam


  1. Overview of the Educational System
  2. Key Indicators
  3. Directories of Organisations Active in Vietnam
  4. Selected Organisations Active in Vietnam
  5. Relevant policies

Accurate as of March 2013; unless indicated otherwise, the websites are all in English. Acknowledgement: Safiya Ahmed.


Overview of the Educational System

The national education system consists of twelve years of basic education which are divided into five levels:

  • Pre-primary education: nursery and kindergarten;
  • General education: primary education;
  • Lower secondary education and upper secondary education;
  • Professional education with professional secondary education and vocational training; and
  • Higher education with college, undergraduate, master and doctoral degrees.

Schools in the national educational system are organised in the following forms:

  • Public schools;
  • People-founded schools which receive no state funding; and
  • Private schools.

The following websites provide a comprehensive outline of the educational system in Vietnam: @ Institute for Research on Educational Development (IRED)@; and @ Classbase, which also includes a list of universities and other institutions of higher education. For further information and resources, see the website (in Vietnamese, tiếng Việt) of the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.

Key Indicators

General Statistics Office of Vietnam (EnglishVietnamese): this is the official website of the General Statistics Office of Vietnam. The website features publications, press releases and statistical data, which are updated on a monthly basis. This includes specific data on Education, Health, Culture and Living Standard, available here in English.

Index Mundi Vietnam Literacy Rate: a graphical outline of the literacy rate in Vietnam provided by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics. The demography includes comparisons by gender and across countries.

Directories of Organisations Active in Vietnam

The following websites provide directories to educational charities and non-profit organisations in Vietnam with links to their respective websites: @ Charity Vault@; and @ VietVentures.

See also:

Vietnam Business: this is a directory of universities and educational organisations in Vietnam, providing a brief summary of their work.

Institute for International Medical Education (IIME): this is a directory of medical schools published by The Institute for International Medical Education.

The Little Feet Company: the Little Feet Company is an online portal for the sale of Fair Trade products. Many of their suppliers and products are linked to social programs around the world, including Vietnam. Their website features a directory of social business and charities in Vietnam.

Selected Organisations Active in Vietnam

Room to Read: this is an organisation which focuses on the construction of schools, the development of school libraries and book publishing. Room to Read also operates a Girls’ Education program in Vietnam and, most recently, introduced a Reading & Writing Instruction Program that targets early literacy skills among primary school children.

The Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF): VEF is an independent U.S. Federal Government agency. VEF receives an annual budget of U.S. $5 million from the U.S. Congress until 2018. The mission of VEF is to strengthen the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relationship through educational exchanges in the STEMM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). VEF provides opportunities for Vietnamese nationals to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies in these fields in the United States and for American citizens to teach in these fields of study in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Education Society (VES): VES was established in 2005 to help address the urgent need for suitable schools for the children of Vietnam. Their goal is to raise funds to cover the cost of construction for new elementary schools and kindergartens in rural areas of Vietnam. VES works with an on-the-ground partner in Vietnam, the East Meets West Foundation.

East Meets West Foundation: this is a U.S. charity that, along with its work in healthcare, education and clean water, builds schools, hospitals and other projects in Vietnam.

Children’s Education Foundation (CEF): CEF works to break the poverty cycle by helping girls from impoverished or marginalised communities to complete school, or to receive further education or training. CEF believes that in addition to this helping young women, it further increases the chance of a better life for succeeding generations. CEF has a blog, available here.

The Vietnam Union of Friendship organizations (VUFO) (in English; in Vietnamese): a socio-political organisation, specialised in people-to-people diplomacy, VUFO plays a key role in a number of activities of people-to-people diplomacy and is a focal point role in foreign non-governmental organisation (NGO) affairs.

The Sunflower Mission: this is a non-profit organisation based in the USA which is committed to improving the lives of the people in Vietnam, mainly through educational assistance programs.

4T – Vietnam Youth Education Support Center (in Vietnamese, a partner organisation of 4-H (in English)): this is a social organisation founded under its parent organisation, Vietnam Association for Promoting Education. Its mission is to provide education support and comprehensive development for Vietnamese youth. Its abbreviation name is 4T Center which comes from four words in Vietnamese: “Tam” (Heart), “Tri” (Mind), “Tai” (Talent) and “Tay” (Hand), representing important qualities of a young person.

The Vietnamese Youth Foundation: it was founded by a group of committed Vietnamese Students and is dedicated to supporting the visions of young Vietnamese people throughout the world. It was designed as an educational tool and a meeting centre to encourage students to express their passion, to be actively involved in and to fully exercise their valuable talent to help their communities.

Tuong Laï (in French): established in 2001 and run by students at the French commerce school ESSEC, this organisation aims to support education and development in and around the city of Hué.


Decree 73: came into force on 15 November 2012. It regulates the cooperation and investment of foreign participants in education, training, and vocational training, and covers educational institutions working with a full spectrum of students – from early childhood to university level. While foreign-linked educational institutions had not been previously allowed to offer classes to Vietnamese primary and secondary students, this is now legal, but under strict guidelines.

World Bank Report, of April 2012: the Vietnam High Quality Education For All Report is a joint product of the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development and the Belgium Development Cooperation. It offers an analysis of educational performance over time (1992-2008) and the drivers of change to inform the next decade of policy reforms in Vietnam. Published in April 2012, it provides an in-depth analysis into Vietnam’s primary and secondary education performance.

The report shows that Vietnam has made impressive gains in improving educational performance over a relatively short period of time. Vietnam’s literacy rate and school attendance rate compare favourably to other countries in the region and in the same income group.

However, the report also recognises that the country still faces challenges in closing gaps in access and learning across population groups, and in improving the quality of teaching and learning to develop the skills needed for the labour market. In order to address those challenges it recommends that Vietnam should prioritise public funding in the education sector, improve spending efficiency and improve school management and pedagogy.