To this end, recently the Vietnamese Government has increased budget allocations, liberalized private sector involvement, and encouraged foreign participation in developing education and training services in Vietnam. However, many observers find the reform process to be slow, and domestic higher education falls far short of meeting demand.
While Vietnam's per capita GDP is growing, the median income in 2010 was $1,052. While incomes are substantially higher in the large cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the majority of Vietnamese families cannot afford the costs associated with an overseas education. Tuition expenses, cost of living, financial aid and scholarship assistance are therefore major considerations for students.
In the last few years, a number of foreign-affiliated companies offering unaccredited programs have created a firestorm of criticism about "diploma mills” and "rogue providers” of education in Vietnam. Foreign schools should provide clear information about their accreditation when recruiting in Vietnam.
Competitors in Asia (including Singapore and Australia) promote close proximity, affordability, and often the possibility of post-graduation employment. Competing school programs from the U.K. and Canada have been very active in Vietnam, and have developed significant reputations and brand recognition.
Areas of study that are top choices for Vietnamese students include business management, finance, engineering, science and technology, IT, and health care programs. In addition, a number of opportunities exist that target the specific needs of the Vietnam market:
ESL and English Preparatory Programs
As Vietnam transitions to an open market economy, English skills are becoming essential for many job seekers. Schools that offer ESL and English preparatory programs are attractive choices for students who need to develop these skills before starting their college programs.
Technical and Vocational Training
Vietnam has a growing demand for skilled workers and production technicians as industrial sectors become a key provider of employment. According to the ministry of education (MOET), the country needs 10,000-15,000 skilled workers trained each year in the service and industrial fields. Training facilities in Vietnam cannot satisfy this demand effectively which presents a chance for American schools to provide much needed professional training.
Community colleges offer financial and academic accessibility, serve as a bridge for Vietnamese students to acclimate to English, American culture as well as a transition to four-year universities.
Vietnam’s economy has seen robust economic growth for the last decade, and Vietnam has ambitious plans to attract foreign investment, create new industries and put in the necessary infrastructure to continue economic development. With more than fifty percent of Vietnam’s population under the age of 30, developing a well-trained labor force is a crucial. Education and training are top priorities for the Vietnamese government, which has ambitious plans to equip the labor force with scientific, technological, and management skills. As new industries expand, a university degree is increasingly essential for young Vietnamese workers searching for higher paying jobs in newly emerging industries.
The government has acknowledged that the current education system is unable to meet demand. According to a survey conducted by the Vietnamese government, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF, 90 percent of students in Vietnam want to enroll in a university. In practice, however, opportunities for higher education are limited since the system can accommodate only a fraction of those seeking admission. Last year, Vietnamese universities had room for only 400,000 of the 1.2 million candidates who took university entrance exams, and demand to take the exam continues to rise. The quality of education in Vietnam is also a concern. Although the number of university students has doubled since 1990, the number of teachers remains virtually unchanged.
1. Vietnam Plas 2011, 19-22 April 2011, Hanoi, Vietnam
2. China Plas 2011, 17-20 May 2011, Guangzhou, China
3. Vietnam Plas 2011, 21-24 September 2011, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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