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.

Assessing the Potential Contributions of the Rikolto Good Food at School (GF@S) model to Improving School Meals and Adolescents’ Diets in Vietnam
The impact of digital supplemental education services on cognitive and social and emotional learning: Evidence from Vietnam
The impact of COVID-19 school closures on learning outcomes: Evidence from Vietnam
Study on Retail diversity index (RDI) for food retail sources
Vietnam’s Aspirations of a Human-Centred Development Model: Understanding Voices and Insights of Multiple Actors
The Vietnam Adolescent Nutrition and Food Environment Study
Educational Technology Readiness Index (ETRI) in Ho Chi Minh City
RISE Development World Management Survey (D-WMS) 2022
Room to Read Library Scaling Study in Vietnam
Return from attending Elite high school: A case study in Vietnam
Project-level endline assessment of the Australia-Vietnam Program for Gender Equality in Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT)
Development World Management Survey of Schools in Vietnam (DWMS – Vietnam Schools)
Research on employability skills and skills gaps among adolescents and youth
Midterm Performance Evaluation Vietnam Sponsorship of Save the Children in Lao Cai
Improving Diets in Schools in Vietnam: Testing Innovative Methods of Influencing Demand
Baseline Assessment of Integrated Early Childhood Development Programme
In-depth Reviews of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4
Qualitative Formative Research- towards Designing Interventions in Schools in Vietnam to Improve Diets
Research to Improve Vietnam’s Education System (RISE)
Cluster randomised controlled trial (cRCT) on the impact of glasses provision on schoolchildren’s glasses wearing behaviour and educational outcome
Eye health among school children in Vietnam: Prevalence of refractive errors, accuracy of school-based screening, and knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) among students, parents, and school staff
Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project (VNEN) – Independent impact evaluation for the second and third years
Vietnam Escuela Nueva Project (VNEN) – Independent impact evaluation for the first year