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Vietnam Education Overview

The education system in Vietnam is being managed and administered by the Ministry of Education and Training. The Department of General Education is responsible for examinations, curriculum, staffing, textbooks at the primary and lower secondary educational levels in Vietnam. The primary and lower secondary schools are set up by the local authorities. The Vietnam education system encompasses government and private educational institutions. Education in Vietnam is free and compulsory for children from the age of 6 to 11. 

Vietnam Education System: Overview

Early Childhood Care and Education- Pre-primary Education

The pre-primary education is imparted by kindergarten and nursery schools and is for children aged 3-6.  It is not compulsory to attend. This level of education teaches basic arithmetic and alphabets, and other things through play activities. This is the initial phase of education that introduces children to the school-type environment. Upon completion of this phase, children can move onto the next level, i.e. the primary education level.  This educational level is popular in major cities such as Vung Tau, Hanoi, Hai Phong , Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, and Da Nang.

General Education

The general education in Vietnam encompasses three levels: primary, lower secondary and upper secondary.

Primary Education

This level of education is compulsory and is for children aged 6-11. This level develops the basic skills along with the intellectual, moral and physical development. 

Curriculum: Includes mathematics, Vietnamese language, arts, nature and society, physical education, moral education-civics, natural and social sciences. 

Secondary Education

Secondary education in Vietnam is split up into 2 levels: lower secondary and upper secondary. This level of education is not compulsory to attend. 

Lower Secondary Education

This level of secondary education is for children aged 11-15 and comprises of grades 6 to 9. The curriculum is standard. Students who complete primary school studies can enter grade 6. This level focuses on general and basic education along with the overall development of the students. It encourages lifelong learning, working together, identifying and solving problems; and also prepares for upper secondary education, professional secondary, vocational training or workforce. 

Upper Secondary Education

This level of secondary education is for children aged 15-18.  The curriculum is standardized. In order to gain admittance into the upper secondary schools in Vietnam, the lower secondary students have to pass an admission exam. This level develops the basic, comprehensive and career-oriented knowledge and skills. 

Curriculum: It is divided into three streams- basic; social sciences, foreign language and humanities; and natural science and mathematics. All the three streams cover the following subjects:
  • History
  • Literature
  • Mathematics (comprises of calculus, geometry and algebra)
  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Chemistry
  • Foreign language
  • Biology
  • Civic (usually comprises of law and ethics)
  • Technology 
  • Physical Education/Sports 
Advanced classes encompass:

Natural sciences: Pupils follow an advanced curriculum in physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry 

Social sciences: Pupils follow an advanced curriculum in foreign language, literature, geography, and history.

Secondary Level Vocational and Technical Education

Technical and vocational education at the secondary level in Vietnam is split up into two categories: professional secondary education and vocational training.

Professional secondary education: This category focuses on developing practical skills and basic knowledge required for a particular profession. It enhances the professional skills and graduates from this level are allowed to enter university or college. 

Secondary technical education: This level offers education and training in a wide range of areas, such as allied health, engineering technology, arts and cultural studies, teacher training, and banking and economics. 

Vocational training: This level provides secondary general education and skilled training.  The programmes are provided by several institutions that are under the responsibility of the General Department of Vocational Training (GDVT) under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). To gain admittance into secondary vocational schools, students must have completed lower secondary school and pass an admission examination. The duration of the study programme at this level is 3-4 years depending on the discipline. The vocational training programmes are offered at three levels depending on the expertise: elementary, intermediate and advanced. 

Higher Education

Higher education is offered by the universities, junior/senior colleges or research institutes. Higher education degrees offered  in Vietnam are: 
  • Undergraduate- Bachelor’s degree: This level lasts for 4-6 years depending on the discipline.  
  • Master: This level is of 1-2 years and is for university graduates
  • Doctorate: This level lasts for 4 years for university graduates and 2-3 years for master degree holders. 

Teacher Education

Teacher education courses are offered at secondary education level lasting for 4-5 years. Provincial and municipal authorities provide 3-year programmes to train graduates of upper secondary schools to teach one main subject, along with an additional subject in primary schools. At post-secondary institutions, 2 year teacher training courses are offered that allow teachers to teach at primary schools.

Examinations

High School Graduation Examination

Students are required to sit for a national leaving examination after the completion of the upper secondary education. This examination is managed and supervised by the Ministry of Education and Training. The national leaving examination comprises of 6 subjects: 
  • Vietnamese language
  • Mathematics
  • Foreign language 
  • Three other subjects vary and are determined by the Ministry of Education and Training

University Admission Examination

Tuyển sinh đại học va cao đẳng is a common examination for entry into the universities and colleges in Vietnam. The examination is held annually. 

To know more about the examinations and their structure, click here.
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