(August 17, 2016) Hanoi, Vietnam_A month after its announcement, the grant for education improvement research in Vietnam – known as Research on Improving Systems of Education or RISE in Vietnam, was officially kicked start this morning in a workshop with attendance of over 60 representatives from ministry, donors and embassy representatives, education experts, researchers from multiple disciplines, investment funds representatives and the press.

Dr. Phung Duc Tung, director of Mekong Development Research Institute, one of the two Vietnamese-based institutions alongside the Center for Analysis and Forecasting (CAF) of this program, made a warm welcome speech and introduced the research team with presence of nearly all the researchers from different countries flown to attend this morning workshop.

The principal investigators and core research team’s inaugural has provided the audience with an overview of the program, the rationale for selecting Vietnam among the 4 studied countries in the world and the proposed research agenda. The workshop also invited questions and comments from the wide audience on the much attended topic, particularly on the 3 research aims presented by Dr. Jonathan D. London, a leading scholar of Vietnam in education, which are:

  1. Verify, and then explain, Vietnam’s achievements (and constraints) in education/learning from 1990 to 2015.
  2. Estimate the impact of the Vietnam Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program on student learning and time in school at the primary & lower secondary levels.
  3. Estimate the impact of the planned 2018 curriculum reforms on student learning and time in school at the primary and lower secondary levels.

The workshop has sparked great interest among the audience and thus, opens way for a number of fruitful conversations following the workshop. RISE in Vietnam’s research team start its working agenda right in the afternoon, meeting up with relevant government officials and donors.

About RISE

Launched in 2015, the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) is a large scale, multi-country research programme that seeks to build a body of world-class evidence to inform education policy, and to raise learning outcomes for children in the developing world. RISE is supported by £27.6 million in funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and A$9.85 million from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to conduct research activities in six developing countries. The project in Vietnam is one of four research endeavours currently being launched.

About RISE in Vietnam

Vietnam’s extraordinary achievements in primary and secondary education over the last two decades have generated a great deal of international attention. Vietnam’s primary school completion rate is 97 percent, and its lower secondary enrolment rate is 92 percent. Out of 65 countries, Vietnam ranked 17th in maths and 19th in reading – surpassing far wealthier nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom – in the 2012 Programme for the worldwide scholastic performance measure International Student Assessment (PISA). Vietnam’s success raises key questions for both Vietnam and other developing countries:

  • How did it reach such levels of learning?
  • Can Vietnam provide useful lessons for other developing countries?
  • What can Vietnam learn from its successes to continue to improve learning for all?

The £4.2 million, 6 year RISE Vietnam Research Program will shed light on the answers to these questions, by (i) Verifying, and then explaining, Vietnam’s achievements (and constraints) in education/learning from 1990 to 2015; (ii) Estimating the impact of the Vietnam Escuela Nueva (VNEN) program on student learning and time in school at the primary & lower secondary levels; and (iii) Estimating the impact of the planned 2018 curriculum reform on student learning and time in school at the primary & lower secondary levels. Findings from the research would provide crucial insights for Vietnam to strengthen its educational system reform, and potentially inform policies that can help the other countries enhance students’ education.

The Vietnam Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group composed of researchers from institutions worldwide, including Vietnam, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Principal bases are at the University of Minnesota, where faculty have been engaged with education research in Vietnam for decades; the Centre for Analysis and Forecasting, a policy-oriented institution within the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences, a think tank of the Government of Vietnam; and the Mekong Development Research Institute, an independent scientific research agency that focuses on public policy and social change.


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