Education in Vietnam (WES)


This November 2017 report from World Education Services (WES) provides an excellent overview of education in Viet Nam, including  structure, issues, and trends.  Here are some of its shortcomings.

Given that it was probably completed in October, the author could have updated most, if not all, all of the statistics.  One had the feeling that the report had been collecting dust for a while.  For example, the he uses UNESCO Institute of Statistics data in the section on outward student mobility stating that Between 1999 and 2016, the number of outbound Vietnamese degree students exploded by fully 680 percent, from 8,169 to 63,703 students.  In fact, there are more than 120,000 students in the top five host countries alone:  Japan, USA, Australia, China, and the UK.

There are also some hot issues that are not included such as foreign investment in education and the current shift taking place among young Vietnamese studying overseas.

It would have made for a better report if the author had shared a draft with various Viet Nam education experts, both Vietnamese and expat, to ensure accuracy.  For example, his statement that Fulbright University Viet Nam (FUV) is a “non-profit university recently set up by Harvard University,” is not entirely correct.  It is in fact a binational university build on the foundation of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), which is a Harvard initiative.  (FUV actually deserved its own paragraph, including a few sentences about the misguided appointment of Bob Kerrey, self-confessed war criminal, as chairman of its board of trustees.)

Finally, the author uses mostly (exclusively?) English language sources, which necessarily limits the perspective and scope of the report.  It would have been better if he had teamed up with a Vietnamese colleague.