Viva, Vietnam!

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Writing for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in June 2015, Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), enthused about Vietnam’s performance in the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests. In global rankings published by the OECD in May 2015, based on science and maths, Vietnam was ranked 12th, while the United States earned the 28th place.

While the Pisa testing system has attracted criticism from many quarters, there was no doubt, said Schleicher, that Vietnamese schoolchildren scored higher in reading, maths and science than many developed countries, including the US and the United Kingdom.

Research evidence shows that the Vietnamese government has thought seriously about the future and has designed an education plan to boost the country’s participation in a global economy. It has devoted almost 21% of government expenditure to education.

The Vietnamese government has also revised its curriculum, said Schleicher, to enable pupils to “[gain] a deep understanding of core concepts and mastery of core skills”. Teachers – highly respected in Vietnam – have received intensive training to employ a rigorous approach in class.

Parents play their part, too. Vietnamese society values education and hard work.

The country still faces some serious challenges, Schleicher has pointed out. About 37% of Vietnamese teens are still not enrolled in school. “Vietnam will have to be careful not to let the quality of its education suffer as it broadens access to more children.”

Vietnam also has to widen its labour market to absorb new generations of highly skilled graduates.

“Vietnam stands to gain three times its current GDP by 2095 if all of its children were enrolled in secondary school and they all acquired at least basic skills in mathematics and science by 2030 – and if the country’s labour market were able to absorb and use all of that talent,” said Schleicher.

Category: Spring 2015

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