The Vietnamese Education System

Understand the different levels in Vietnamese schools...

Vietnamese parents in general pay a lot of attention to education for their children. Standards in state schools are not high and many children receive additional tuition outside of school. There are, however, four special upper secondary schools for gifted and talented students; Amsterdam School and Chu Van An School in Hanoi, Quoc Hoc School in Hue, and Le Hong Phong School in Ho Chi Minh City.

The number of students per class ranges from 30-38 students. Parents must pay for books and make a contribution to school equipment.

There are 12 years of formal education, which are divided into the following stages:

  • Crèche and pre-primary school
  • Primary school
  • Secondary school
  • High school

Crèche and pre-primary school

Crèches are considered part of the pre-primary structure in Vietnam. Some pre-schools also include crèches, which are either state-run or private. Infants can be enrolled from three months of age until the age of three.

Pre-primary school (tr??ng m?m non) accounts for the first three years of education; between the ages of three and six. Children attend pre-school until they go to primary school. Although compulsory pre-school education has yet to be achieved throughout Vietnam, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is aiming for all Vietnamese children to attend pre-school when they turn five to ensure that they are school ready.

  • For more information about Early Childhood Education in Vietnam from the MOET: Click here

Primary school

Primary school (tr??ng ti?u h?c) lasts for five years (between first and fifth grade), and finishes at the ages of 11. It is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Grades 1, 2 and 3 where six subjects are studied: Vietnamese, mathematics, morality, nature and society, arts, and physical education
  • Phase 2 – Grades 4 and 5 where nine subjects are studied: Vietnamese, mathematics, morality, science, history, geography, basic techniques, music, arts, and physical education

At the end of primary school, students choose between going to secondary school (for four years) or doing professional training, which lasts two years.

  • For more information about Vietnam Primary Education from the MOET: Click here

Secondary school

Secondary school (trung h?c c? s?) lasts for four years of school (between sixth and ninth grade), and finishes at the age of 15.

Subjects studied are Vietnamese, mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, history, geography, civics, foreign language, physical education, technology, art, and music. Optional subjects include: class activities and school activities, vocational-oriented activities (three periods per month in grade nine) and extra-curricular activities (four periods per month in all grades).

After students have completed four years of secondary school, they choose a course of study in high school; these include specialised secondary education, vocational secondary education, professional secondary education, and professional training.

  • For more information about Secondary Education in Vietnam from the MOET: Click here
  • For more information about Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Vietnam from MOET: Click here

High school

High school (trung h?c ph? thông) last for three years (between tenth and twelfth grade), and finishes at the age of 18.

Compulsory subjects include mathematics, Vietnamese literature, physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, civics (generally consists of economics, philosophy, politics, law and ethics), foreign language (English, Mandarin, French and Russian are taught at some specialised schools), technology, information technology, physical education, military and security education.

Depending on the course of study chosen in high school, students then either go to university or college.

  • For a chart showing the structure of the education system in Vietnam from the MOET: Click here

National Graduation Examination

The National Graduation Examination takes place in June and covers six subjects, each of which is graded out of 10 points. To graduate, students have to obtain at least 30 points and not have a zero score for any subject.

The National Graduation Examination is required in order to write the entrance exam for university or college.