A recent article titled "Why are Vietnam's schools so good?" in the British weekly The Economist said Vietnam understands the value of education and manages its teachers well.
The article stated that “Vietnamese children go through one of the best schooling systems in the world, a status reflected in outstanding performances in international assessments of reading, maths and science”.
The Economist cited recent World Bank data showings that "on aggregate learning scores, Vietnamese students outperform not only their counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand but also those in the UK and Canada, countries more than six times richer."
A Vietnamese first grader and her mother are cheerful on the first day of a new school year. Photo: Nam Du/The Hanoi Times
“Even in Vietnam itself, student scores do not exhibit the scale of inequality so common elsewhere between the genders and different regions,” said the article.
It mentions a study in 2020 by Abhijeet Singh of the Stockholm School of Economics who gauged the greater productivity of Vietnam’s schools by examining data from identical tests taken by students in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam.
The author assessed that the distinctive secret of Vietnam’s stellar performance lies in the classroom: its children learn more at school, especially in the early years. "Between the ages of five and eight Vietnamese children race ahead", it said.
"Vietnamese schools, unlike those in other poor countries, have improved over time. Vietnam’s teachers do their job well because they are well-managed. They receive frequent training and are given the freedom to make classes more engaging", the paper noted.
“To tackle regional inequality, those posted to remote areas are paid more. Most important, teacher assessment is based on the performance of their students.”
In addition, it wrote that provinces are required to spend 20% of their budgets on education, which has helped regional equity. That the Communist Party of Vietnam pays such close and relentless attention also ensures that policies are adjusted to update curriculums and teaching standards.
“All this has reaped rich rewards. As schools have improved, so has Vietnam’s economy,” concluded the article.