Vietnam recognises the need to improve both access to education and quality. It has adopted the Dakar Education for All (EFA) Framework for Action - an initiative with greater focus on quality than those set out in the Millennium Development Goals. Vietnam's National EFA Action Plan sets out a pathway to advance key components of the education system by 2015: early childhood care and pre-school, primary, lower-secondary and non-formal education.
The Young Lives project - a long-term study tracking the well-being of 3,000 children in Vietnam and three other countries, over a period of 15 years - has identified the following challenges in improving education quality and ensuring equity:
- low basic skills acquisition
- a narrow focus on scholastic achievement by teachers who have been trained using traditional teaching methods which fail to encourage interactive learning
- over-reliance on private tuition
- under-investment in education 'software' - curricula, teacher training, classroom resources and educational materials
- limited early child development (ECD) coverage
- unequal access to education for poor, disabled and ethnic minority children
- children failing to perform well due to inadequate nutrition.
These challenges are discussed in this policy brief.
Young Lives, Oxford, UK, 8 pp.