Vietnams education system

Private tutoring-76% of upper secondary pupils are tutored privately


We have touched on the issue of private tutoring in Korea, Japan and Singapore. It is also common in Vietnam.

Vietnam moved from 1986 onwards from a centrally planned economy to a market driven economy. This saw the rapid expansion of private education and personal tuition. Parents and children became increasingly aspirational. The system relies heavily on examinations and in order to progress students need access to good qualifications to ease their pathway into higher education, where there are limited places. Most experts agree that the curriculum reforms in Vietnam mean that the demands on students are greater now than they were  say 20 years ago.

Private tuition is  seen  as a useful way  for teachers to supplement their meagre incomes . There are other factors at play too. The school day in Vietnam is surprisingly short   3.5 hours (USA has six hours) and   there are on average 34 school weeks a year for primary and secondary schools, so some parents perceive that their children are not being educated fully during the school day. They have a point.

Vietnam of course is also heavily influenced by Confucian thinking-a good education, self-discipline and hard work   are respected and seen as a prerequisite for success in the world.  And private tutoring is also regarded as a form of day-care by some parents, especially if both parents work ,which is not uncommon. What about the scale of private tutoring? A recent survey suggests that 31% of students at primary level use private tutors, 56% at lower secondary and 76% at upper secondary. About 34% of Vietnamese households pay for private tuition- spending between 1-5% of household income on tuition.

Self-evidently there are structural weaknesses in any education system that requires  hard pressed parents   to dip into their pockets to enable their children to reach the required standards. Meanwhile private tutors (including many state teachers, remember)  see their incomes grow and see no advantage to them in backing  any  system reform. So there are grounds for concern as to where the incentives  are to drive  the changes necessary  to propel Vietnam into the top league.

SourceThe Determinants and Impact of Private Tutoring Classes in Vietnam-By Hai-Anh Hoang Dang-2011


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