5 facts on current education market in Vietnam

Vietnam has experienced rapid economic growth and major inflow of foreign investment, enabling the reduction of poverty and improvement of human development indicators including education. Demand for overseas education is growing rapidly, and, as incomes rise, Vietnam holds potential as a market for international institutions.

Education Intelligence highlights 5 key facts for those who want to know more about the education market in Vietnam.

1. Economic outlook is strong amid high consumer confidence

Economic growth is projected to be 6.3 per cent in 2017 and 6.4 per cent in 2018 (World Bank) just behind the Philippines as the fastest growing economy among the larger, developing ASEAN economies. Vietnam is a major manufacturing hub, and GDP is forecast to increase rapidly from US$201.4 billion in 2016 to around US$276.3 billion by 2021. Tight economic policies have successfully reversed severe fiscal and current account deficits, and conditions have stabilised overall after the global financial crisis. Against a positive economic backdrop, opportunities in education can thrive, as consumers are more likely to have higher levels of disposable income to invest in the future.

2. Consumer spending on education to remain strong

Consumer expenditure on education continues to rise in Vietnam. In 2015, consumers spent US$8.6 billion on education and this figure is forecast to increase to US$12.8 billion by 2021 as incomes and demand for education grow. There are significant fees associated with public basic education, including tuition fees, building and maintenance, uniforms, textbooks and materials, class and parent association funds and gifts for teachers, in total, around ten per cent of schools’ budgets come from contribution of parents. Vietnamese parents in fact contribute more to public education than in other countries in the region. The latest PISA tests also show that commitment to education among Vietnamese parents and students is among the highest in PISA countries.

3. Strong digital potential

The government is committed to transforming Vietnam into an advanced, knowledge-based society by implementing IT-related policies. In early 2017, 53 per cent of the population were active Internet users – up from 50 per cent the previous year — while 87 per cent of this segment is online daily. Internet access is boosted further by mobile device ownership: there are 131 mobile subscriptions for every 100 of the population and, in early 2017, 55 per cent of the population used the Internet more often via a mobile device. With the government focused on developing human resources specialised in electronics, telecommunications, information technology, and information security, Vietnam offers a supportive environment to capitalise on digital opportunities across many industries including education.

4. Increased focus on vocational education and training

Vocational education has not been popular in Vietnam and the government is actively trying to change this by investing more in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), with assistance from international partners. The Law on Vocational Education came into effect on 1 July 2015 and, in late 2014, the government announced that vocational education, including junior colleges, would be overseen by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA). Vietnam’s government is engaging heavily with TVET to ensure that graduates’ skills meet the needs of industry. Prioritising TVET together with the high unemployment of university graduates is prompting greater numbers of secondary school students to opt for vocational training, as well as some graduates after earning their degrees. The need for development in the main skills-related areas such as TVET means that there may be opportunities in the market for foreign providers in some areas.

5. Rising interest in study abroad among young Vietnamese


With rising incomes and limited high-quality study options at home, particularly at postgraduate level, Vietnamese students are looking overseas for higher education in increasing numbers. Studying abroad at renowned institutions is a well-established trend among high-income households; however, intra-regional mobility is growing and should increase further now that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has formed, and education pathways open up within the ASEAN region. The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) figures show that overseas enrolments have increased tenfold over the past decade, and the rapid increase in enrolments in countries such as the US and Australia has drawn significant attention to the Vietnamese market. The most popular destination is Japan, which recorded 53,807 Vietnamese students in 2016, up from 38,882 in 2015 (includes 20,000 at higher education institutions, while the remainders are at Japanese language institutes). Vietnamese students are the second largest group in Japan, following those from China.

05/09/2017 - 08:18