Expansion of Secondary Education in a Transition Economy: The Case of Vietnam

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:09 PM
Room: F201
Oral Presentation
Miho ITO , The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
This paper examines an abrupt expansion and stagnation of higher secondary education in Vietnam during the two decades since the beginning of 1990s.
In 1986, Vietnam introduced the Doi Moi policy to shift from a centralized socialistic economy to a market-based one. Influenced by this drastic transition of economy, people’s aspirations for upward mobilization through achievement of a higher academic level increased significantly. The school enrollment rate of high school increased from 15% in 1990 to 55% in 2010.
However, the trend of the upward mobility movement has not continued for such a long time as in other recently industrialization countries in East Asia. By analyzing educational statistics by regions, the author found that the number of enrollments in high school now is stagnating, and is even decreasing in some poor rural areas.
This paper focuses on two causes that restricted the rapid expansion of higher secondary education and caused a reduction in its speed. Firstly, a privatization policy of secondary education introduced a number of private high schools with weak management bases. They provided temporary bases for people’s aspiration to go to high schools, but could not be continued due to lack of strong management strategies. Secondly, the development of the labor market could not keep up with the rapid increase of the newly produced labor force, high school graduates. People began to realize that only having a higher secondary education diploma was not enough to have a stable job in the metropolises, but was also too much education to work as part of the manual labor force in factories.
In conclusion, this paper forecasts the future of post rapid expansion of secondary education in the first two decade of the transition economy.