In Vietnam, education and training has always played a central role, as a priority of the government and of each individual family. In fact, the sector receives enormous financial investment, having been allocated over 20% of government spending in 2015, a level deemed to be higher than that of any other OECD country. With this amount of investment, the efforts do bear fruits: in 2015, results of Vietnamese students, aged 15, who were randomly selected to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, showed a ranking of 12, higher than those from developed nations like the US or the UK.  

However, this does not necessarily mean there are no pertinent issues with the system. By contrast, there are critical ones that the country needs to tackle comprehensively in order to prepare the best human resources for the nation’s future. An unsettled issue is creating educational opportunities for all. The 2015 Millennium Development Goal final report, drafted by the MDRI team, points to the fact that there exists inequality in educational access, particularly with the levels post universal-primary school, between the ethnic majorities and ethnic minorities, and between the urban and rural areas. This means that more effort should be made to broaden the reach of education to remote and disadvantaged groups.

Another issue is one of quality, which has been drawing considerable public attention. Despite the impressive investment for this sector, Vietnamese students are regarded as not adequately equipped with soft skills such as problem-solving, team work, etc., which are integral to producing competitive and effective candidates in the labor market. With regards to this issue, reforms have been implemented on the education system, one of which is the Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project (GPE-VNEN). The US $84.6 million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to the Government of Vietnam aims to promote innovative teaching and learning methods, classroom organization, assessment of student trends, and community involvement. The teaching method is set to develop independent thinking in children as early as in their primary school years and to close the gap in the quality of education for disadvantaged and ethnic minority students, who are supported through the implementation of  the model. With education being a major theme in its activities, MDRI has carried out an independent impact evaluation of this program over 4 years to provide data-backed evidence on the effects that such a project can bring to the country’s education system.

Although education is highly emphasized, the component of vocational training is left almost neglected. In fact, a study by the ILO (2013) shows that Vietnamese labor productivity is among the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region. To address this issue, alongside the Government of Vietnam’s endeavor to strengthen this sector, MDRI has conducted a major study in 2015, namely “Vocational Education Training Financing/Cost Norm Studies,” which thoroughly reviewed the current financing system of vocational schools and proposed a revised costing method that enhances attractiveness to potential students.

Client: Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Duration: 04/2020-08/2020 Overview: MDRI is working with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Market Assessment and Analysis to identify needed employability skills and firms’ good practices so as to improve the…


Client: Save the Children in Vietnam Time: 03/2019 – 09/2019 Overview: Save the Children (SC), through Vietnam Sponsorship Programme, is partipating in the building up of human capital in Vietnam. The programme aims at giving children the best chance for a lifetime of success by transforming the lives of children and ensures children have the…

Cải thiện Bữa ăn Trường học tại Việt Nam

Client: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Time: February – May 2019 Project Summary: The project “Improving Diets in Schools in Vietnam”, funded by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), is part of the CGIAR’s Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) research program under the flagship “Food Systems for Healthier Diets”. Its goal is…


Client: UNICEF Vietnam Time: 07/2018 – 12/2018 Overview: Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Programme belongs to the National Cooperation Programme between Vietnam and UNICEF during the year 2017 – 2021. IECD refers to a comprehensive care and development approach for children from 0-8 years of age. It enables families to access multiple services for their young…


Client: German Development Cooperation, GIZ Office Time: 11/2017 – 01/2018 Overview: The project aims to support the preparation of the Voluntary National Review of the Government of Vietnam. The objectives of the project is to conduct in-depth reviews on the respective group of SDGs as stated above, with a focus on means of implementation, policy gaps, integration…


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