Preschool potential ramps up

November 10, 2022 | 11:31
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Opportunities for international education investment are increasing as the Vietnamese government attempts to encourage involvement in the country’s non-compulsory early childhood education.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) show that for the 2021-2022 school year, Vietnam had 5.4 million children enrolled in pre-school facilities, up 50,000 from the year before. Among this, the percentage of children in the private category saw an increase of 1.1 per cent, reaching 23.2 per cent last year.

Preschool potential ramps up
Preschool potential ramps up

Although pre-school education is not compulsory in Vietnam, the government is making efforts to promote participation and investment, especially in the non-public school segment, to reduce the increasing load on public schools.

“Over the last 10 years, the government has significantly softened its approach to foreign investment,” Truong Lang, founder and CEO of Viettonkin Consulting assessed. “Although there are still foreign ownership restrictions in place for a number of sectors, education is one of the exceptions.”

In terms of legal frameworks, in 2018 the government issued Decree No.86/2018/ND-CP on foreign cooperation and investment in education, aiming to develop the private education sector. An important part of the decree is the quota increase in the number of local student enrolments allowed in international schools to 50 per cent. While the prior regulations mandated that no more than 20 per cent of Vietnamese students be permitted to attend international schools, this adjustment enabled international schools to reach out to a wider population.

Meanwhile, data refinery enterprise World Data Lab forecasted that Vietnam’s middle class, defined as households with per-capita spending of between $11 and $110 a day, is among the world’s fastest-growing populations of the middle class in the coming decade, and could reach 56 million people by the end of the decade.

Experts believe that the combination of these regulatory and social factors has transformed the country into a booming market for international schools.

“The Vietnamese feel optimistic about the future” 90 per cent believe their living conditions are higher than those of their parents and that conditions will continue to improve for their children,” said Do Thanh Huyen, assistant manager at Dezan Shira & Associates. “The desire to send children to an international learning environment is on the rise.”

Nevertheless, the development of international pre-schools is still facing certain challenges. In terms of legality, while international schools are generally understood as foreign-invested or promoting an international curriculum, there is yet a legal document defining them.

“Although tuition fees for schools with international names are very high, their qualities vary, and there exist international-labelled schools that have no foreign investment or even a certified curriculum,” said Dr. Le Viet Khuyen, former deputy director of the Higher Education Department under the MoET.

Earlier this year, the Hanoi Department of Education and Training (DOET) published a list of foreign-invested preschool institutions to help parents distinguish between DOET-certified establishments and those that are not. The city boasts seven escalator schools with foreign investment, including names like UNIS Hanoi, British-Hanoi International, and Concordia Hanoi.

ENZ: Connection through education ENZ: Connection through education

On October 29 and 30, Education New Zealand (ENZ) coordinated with the New Zealand Embassy and the New Zealand Consulate General to organise the New Zealand Education Fair 2022. The event brought together more than 40 educational institutions from New Zealand to directly consult Vietnamese students and parents on study-abroad opportunities. Lisa Futschek, general manager of International at ENZ talked to VIR’s Linh Le about the benefits of New Zealand education and emerging trends in the industry.

Nearly 1,000 Vietnamese parents and students joined New Zealand Education Fair 2022 Nearly 1,000 Vietnamese parents and students joined New Zealand Education Fair 2022

New Zealand Education Fair 2022, the largest annual event on New Zealand education, officially returned on October 29 in Hanoi and October 30 in Ho Chi Minh City, attracting nearly 1,000 attendees.

By Thuy Linh

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