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Education System of Vietnam

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is responsible for the administration of education in Vietnam at the national level. It sets the policies for all levels of education in Vietnam. The management of the education sector in Vietnam is centralised. The Department of Education and Training manages the upper secondary schools and professional secondary schools at the provincial level, while the District Bureaus of Education and Training manages the lower secondary schools and primary schools present locally in the districts. Though, there are some of the higher education institutions in Vietnam that are being administered and managed by the government agencies or ministries.

Types of Educational Institutions

Educational institutions in Vietnam are public and non-public. 

Public Educational Institutions

Public institutions: These educational institutions are set up and managed by the State.  

Non-Public Educational Institutions

Following are the non-public educational institutions in Vietnam:

People-founded educational institutions: These educational institutions are established by the non-government organizations after seeking permission from the state.  They do not receive any funding from the state, rather funded by local communities.

Semi-public educational institutions: These educational institutions are established by the state along with the individuals in the society who together provides funds for infrastructure. Costs are generally covered by the student fees. 

Private educational institutions: These educational institutions are established by the individuals or groups of individuals after getting approval from the state; and are owned and overseen by the private individuals. 

Vietnam Educational Statistics

Number of schools: 427 (public as well as non-public)
Number of graduates (in thousands)-
  • Public: 349.8
  • Non-public: 56.1
Source: General Statistics office of Vietnam, 2013 data, percentage

Number of Universities in Vietnam: 234
Number of Junior Colleges in Vietnam: 185

Education Profile of Vietnam

Formal education in Vietnam comprises of 12 years of basic education. Basic education comprises of 5 years of primary education, 4 years of intermediate/lower education, and 3 years of upper secondary education. The education system is split up into four educational stages:
  • Pre-primary education: Includes nursery and kindergarten;
  • General education: Comprises of primary education; Lower secondary education and upper secondary education;
  • Professional education: Comprises of professional secondary education and vocational training
  • Higher education: Comprises of colleges and universities that offer undergraduate, master and doctoral degrees

Compulsory Education

Primary Education in Vietnam is compulsory and free of charge. However, pupils are required to pay for textbooks and uniform. 

Pre-primary Education

Pre-primary education is optional and is for children aged 3 months to 6 years old. Th pre-primary education is a part of general education and is offered by both public and private sector. It includes creches and kindergarten schools.

General Education

General education in Vietnam comprises of:
  • Primary education
  • Lower or Intermediate secondary education
  • Upper secondary education

Primary Education

Primary education is compulsory to attend and is for children aged 6-11 years. This level covers grades 1-5. The Vietnam primary education curriculum is split up into 2 phases:

Phase 1: Covers Grades 1, 2 and 3. This phase includes the following subjects: Morality, mathematics, physical education, Vietnamese language, arts, and nature and society.

Phase 2: Covers Grades 4 and 5. This phase comprises of nine subjects: Science, Vietnamese language, arts, basic techniques, mathematics, physical education, music, Morality, geography, and history.

Secondary Education

General secondary education is split up into 2 cycles:

Lower Secondary Education

Lower secondary education lasts for 4 years and covers grades 6-9. It is also referred to as Junior high school (In Vietnamese: trung học cơ sở). 

Upper Secondary Education/High School Education

This level of education lasts for 3 years and covers grades 10-12. This level prepares students for higher level sudies or workforce.

Professional Education

Professional education in Vietnam comprises of:

Professional secondary education: It lasts for 3-4 school years for students who have a lower secondary education diploma; and for students who have a upper secondary education diploma, for them it lasts for 1-2 school years.

Vocational training: It consists of vocational preliminary programme that last for 1 year; and is also comprised of vocational secondary college programmes lasting 1-3 years.

Higher Education

Higher education in Vietnam is offered by the public and private universities, junior colleges and academic research institutes. 

Higher Education Institutions: At a Glance

According to the Vietnamese Government decree (decree 43/2000/ND-CP, dated August 30, 2000), there are 3 types of higher education institutions in Vietnam:

University (In Vietnamese: Đại học): This type of higher education institution offers a wide range of study fields and research. They are multidisciplinary higher education institutions. 

Junior College (trường Đại học): This type of higher education institution focuses on its study areas and lasts for 2-3 years for students holding upper secondary diploma; and for 1-2 years for students holding professional secondary education diploma in the same field.

Institute (Học viện): This type of higher education institutions focuses on its curriculum and research activities.

Higher Education Qualifications


Associate Degree (In Vietnamese: Cao đẳng): This degree requires 3-years of full-time study. It is offered by junior colleges and by some of the universities as additional training programmes in Vietnam.

Bachelor Degree (Vietnamese: Cử nhan): The duration of the bachelor degree in Vietnam is 4-6 years depending on the course of study. Most of the undergraduate programmes last for 4 years.  A 6-year bachelor degree programme is for medical and dental sciences, and 5-year for industrial engineering. Students who successfully complete this qualification level are conferred the title corresponding to their area of study such as bachelor (cử nhan), medical doctor (bac sĩ), lawyer (luật sư), engineer (kỹ sư), and so on. 

Masters’ degree: Several universities in Vietnam offer master’s degree programme. The Master’s degree is of 2 years in duration.

Doctorate degree: Doctorate degree is offered by most of the universities in Vietnam. This degree programme lasts for 4 years for students having bachelor degree; and for 2-3 years for students holding a master’s degree. Doctor of Philosophy is generally offered at the Vietnam universities.

Admission Requirements

In order to gain admittance into higher education institutions in Vietnam, students must have a secondary school leaving certificate. Also, students must sit for the university admission tests for gaining admission into universities in Vietnam. To know in detail about the admission requirements, click here.

Special Needs Education

In Vietnam, most of the districts have care centres for the disabled children.  These centres encourage children to study in general education settings. General education classes are usually proximate to the home, less costly, and have better trained teachers. 
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