Enrolling a Child in School

Understand what the enrolment procedure involves in Vietnam…

A child can begin primary school at six years old. A list of schools in the family’s neighbourhood is available in each district from the office of Education and Training.

Enrolments for the following school year usually take place from May to June. The following documents are required in support of an application:

  • Application form (obtained at the school)
  • Birth certificate
  • Family record or residence permit (for foreign students)
  • School records from the previous year (excluding applicants for Grade 1)

International Schools

Many foreigners living in Vietnam decide to have their children attend a private international school designed to cater for the needs of foreign residents.

There are a large number of international schools in Vietnam, most of which are located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They cater for the international community and offer various languages, including English, French, Japanese and German. Some of the international schools offer a dual language curriculum (mostly English and Vietnamese) and there are also Vietnamese language schools available.

Many schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, while others offer equivalent schemes to the British GCSE and GCE examination systems.


Enrolment procedures vary from one international school to another; however, in most cases parents will need records and results from the previous school, proof of vaccinations and a medical report. Schools may also require children to pass an admission test.

Documents for enrolment in an international school may vary; however, schools generally require school reports and records from the previous school(s). Some schools may request to see vaccination certificates or that the child passes a medical before admission. Typical requirements for enrolment include:

  • Completed application form
  • Copy of child’s passport
  • Passport size photograph
  • School reports from the current school
  • Any specialist educational reports (where applicable)
  • Copy of child’s immunisation record
  • Medical report
  • Application fee

There are often waiting lists for international schools and it is highly advisable to register early.

Fees at international schools are high, and some schools may require advance payment.

Medical Insurance

In state schools medical insurance is paid by students, but the cost is low. The school is responsible for giving students their medical insurance book, which ensures that 80 percent of a student’s medical costs will be covered at a hospital.

Children with Disabilities

In Vietnam children with disabilities and learning difficulties have the right to study at state schools if that is their parents’ wish. There are also specialist schools in most major cities.

The School Year

The school year in Vietnam runs from September to May. The school week in Vietnamese state schools runs from Monday to Saturday. As many state schools cannot accommodate all of the children at once, lessons are often held in two shifts, with children attending either morning or afternoon sessions. Schools are closed on public holidays.

After-school and day care differ from school to school. Usually, primary school students have lunch at school and they are then taken care of by teachers until they are collected. Parents have to pay an extra monthly fee for after-school care on top of annual school fees.

School holidays at international schools vary. Usually, schools start in September and there are holidays in October, December and April, while the summer holiday is from June to August.