How Competitive Is The Education System In Vietnam?

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Updated 2:09 am

Vietnam has about 23,5 million students with approximately 1,5 million undergraduate students while we only have 460 universities and colleges all over the country. When I was in ninth grade, I had to pass the high school entrance examination with the proportion of two to one, which meant there were still 22,783 students who must study in private schools.

Because of the different enrollment methods, pupils in Vietnam need to pass the high school and the university entrance examinations to continue their studies. As a result, the competitiveness in our education system is extremely fierce; students have to study extremely hard to win to study at top high schools or universities.

We can analyze the situation with competitiveness in the schools, classrooms, and universities.

Below are my top 4 reasons why Vietnamese schools are competitive.

#1 Competitiveness in getting into schools for gifted pupils

Since studying in pre-schools, parents prepare their children to enter primary schools. They must ensure that their children will learn in a good school to be as talented as the others’ children.

In 2019, there were hundreds of parents waiting for a school to open for admission in Hanoi. When it comes to secondary schools, which is the premise for choosing high schools, it is usually believed that studying in a first-rate secondary school brings students a higher chance to pass the entrance exam of gifted high schools.

This is caused by the fact that some gifted schools provide a better environment to pupils, highly qualified teachers can teach students there, and they will have more extracurricular activities than the other schools.

However, students have to study extremely hard to get into these schools as their parents’ expectations. In 2021, nearly 3000 applications of pupils have been handed into the Hanoi – Amsterdam High school for the Gifted; their target is only about 655 students, which means the ratio is five to one.

#2 Competitiveness in Classrooms

Studying in a specialized school is not enough; children must have the highest score in their classes. Because numerous universities in Vietnam have changed their enrollment into the application forms, pupils need to have an excellent school report, including high positions in class such as a student leader and academic high marks.

Moreover, parents in Vietnam tend to have a misconception that their kids must be more talented than others’ children; they use their kids’ scholastic achievements to show off with everyone.

Therefore, they will be humiliated if their children’s scores are not high, which leads to the fact that they force their kids to study really hard.

I have studied in specialized classes for the whole time of my school life, students in my classes tend to study harder and harder to get higher scores. It is like an endless race when someone gets the highest marks, and the others will surpass him or her.

#3 Competitiveness In The University Entrance Exam

The university entrance exam is known as the most popular examination in Vietnam, that nearly 100% of high school students participate in striving to get into good universities.

Unlike gifted high schools, studying in a high-quality university can help students be employed by large companies much easier than low-ranking universities. Subsequently, every single high school pupil studies tremendously hard so that they will have a chance to study in first-rate universities.

In 2014, Foreign Trade University in Hanoi had only 2350 entrance positions, the number of students who wanted to study here was approximately 11,000. 

#4 Competitiveness In Universities’ For Scholarships

In Vietnam, several students are really talented but do not have enough money to study at universities; as a result, various universities offer their students with high marks a scholarship if their scholastic achievements are high.

Nevertheless, the scholarships are extremely difficult to get as the requirements are all extremely difficult, and the pupils have to pass multiple rounds until they win the scholarships.

Take RMIT University as a typical example; each year, RMIT provides 12 scholarships for the best students from all over the country. Students who can win one of these scholarships must have done extracurricular activities have the highest scores and highest language certifications such as IELTS qualifications.

Sometimes, winning a university’s scholarship is even harder than getting into a high-ranking university. Everyone will try their best to get a chance to get a scholarship to lower their school fee.

In conclusion, studying in Vietnam is exceedingly difficult because the students here must study enormously hard to win over the other students.

Even though the fact that our education system is competitive may help to motivate pupils to study harder, as a student in this country. I think that if we have a chance to change our education system, we can reduce the competitiveness in our system and if we did this, then students would not become lazy. 

Because Vietnam’s education system is so competitive, it is much harder for children from poverty or underprivileged backgrounds. They are not afforded the luxury to have extra classes to help them with their education; most of them must do it independently.

James Johnstone
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