A new decree from the Vietnamese government will boost the number of domestic students permitted to study in foreign-owned international schools. This is expected to help Vietnam attract more investment from overseas and inspire students to remain in the country.
As The PIE News reports, Decree 86 was first discussed in 2017 and came into effect at the start of August. It will enable Vietnam-based international schools to have half of their enrolments made up of Vietnamese students, rising from 10% for primary and 20% for secondary schools.
Mark Ashwill, managing director at educational consulting firm Capstone, explained that the government is eager to attract more direct foreign investment and offer more opportunities to domestic students. He called it a “smart and timely decision” which supports Vietnam’s goal of opening up its economy to the world.
There has been growing interest in international schools among the middle-class in Vietnam, with the decree now allowing the National Curriculum to be taught in the schools. Ashwill believes the decree will have a positive effect on student choice.
As competition increases in Vietnam, Ashwill commented that schools “will have to be at the top of their games” in delivering the curriculum, as well as in terms of the staff they employ, their reputation and ancillary services.
Along with primary and secondary education, the Vietnamese government is eyeing investment in higher education.
Phan Manh Hung, the attorney responsible for helping to create the decree, discussed a recent report on overseas study by the department of foreign training. It found that over
110,000 Vietnamese citizens are studying in another country, paying around US$40,000 per year. “This suggests that Vietnam is exporting about US$3bn every year to overseas education,” he added.
Hung went on to explain that offering more K-12 international school options will inspire families to remain in the country, at least until their children reach higher education and potentially beyond. In turn, this would limit the number of Vietnam students moving abroad, and ensure more money stays in the country’s economy.
Conversely, Ashwill noted how the decree may boost opportunities for Vietnamese students to travel as part of their education.
“The [new decree] will enable more children from well-to-do families to attend international schools, which will better prepare them for overseas study, the ultimate goal of many,” he said.
Vietnam may very well be on the verge of an international school boom. If you’re interested in taking up a teaching career in an international school in Asia, you might just find your dream role with eTeach.