Fact-Checking a Recent PIE News Article About Viet Nam

Face-to-face key to recruiting Vietnam Gen Z

This 8 July 2022 article by Helen Packer, which is essentially an advertorial for INTO, includes some facts and figures that are inaccurate. While I agree with the thesis, i.e., the importance of face-to-face recruiting, I feel compelled to offer these corrections in point/counterpoint fashion.

Point #1: Approximately 190,000 Vietnamese students studied abroad during the 2019/20 academic year and Vietnam is currently the fifth largest international student source market for the US and the fourth largest for Australia.

Counterpoint #1: According to my estimates, most of which are based on official sources, there are an estimated 250,000 young Vietnamese studying overseas, 213,291.

85% of whom are in the top 10 host countries. These are, in descending order, South Korea, Japan, the USA, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, France, and Russia. (Let me know if you’d like to see the sources, most of which are official.).

The 190,000 figure links to a 2021 US country commercial guide for education and training in Vietnam that includes outdated statistics such the assertion that “Vietnam has 126,059 students studying abroad according to UNESCO.” Have a look at this page and you’ll see how much information is missing, e.g., the US.

Point #2: The UK was the preferred destination among participants, with 23% of respondents selecting it as their first choice and 56% naming it as one of their top three, while Australia and the US followed as the next most popular destinations

Counterpoint #2: This result makes me wonder about how INTO selected its survey sample. In 2020/21, the UK hosted 2,675 Vietnamese students, which means it probably ranks in the top 15. Does the result indicate a coming sea change in overseas study preferences or is the sample skewed in favor of Vietnamese parents and students who have a preference for the UK?

Australia has about 6,300 fewer Vietnamese students than the US, according to recent updates.

I do agree with the result that “Over half of participants said they were also considering an Asian destination, such as Japan or South Korea.” East Asian countries now account for 66% of Vietnamese overseas enrollment among the top 10 host countries, a marked change over a decade ago.

I was intrigued to read that while “some 60% of students said that meeting university representatives was useful, [but] only 28% believed that education agents were one of the most important sources of information.” A trend I’ve observed in recent years is more Vietnamese students applying directly to education institutions, bypassing education agents. Having said that, Vietnam is still very much an agent market.  

Shalom (שלום), MAA 

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