Vietnam: Regulatory change expected to spur international school enrolment

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • The Vietnamese government will introduce new regulations later this year to ease restrictions on enrolment in foreign-owned international schools in Vietnam
  • The move is expected to trigger increased foreign investment in the sector and expanded enrolment of local students in English-medium international schools

New regulations due to come into effect later this year are expected to trigger significant growth in English-medium international schools in Vietnam.

Under the current provisions of Decree 73, international schools in Vietnam that are entirely foreign-owned have been restricted on the number of Vietnamese students eligible for enrolment. The current policy establishes a cap that limits school enrolment to 10% local children at the primary level and 20% for secondary grades.

The government policy revision is set to remove this cap, as a result, offering more international school options for local families. ISC Research predicts this could open up the market, creating significant opportunities for school growth and new school development.

Economic transformation

Phan Manh Hung is an attorney and a member of the technical team behind the new regulations. He explains the government’s motivation for the amendment: “Vietnam is entering a period of unprecedented and comprehensive integration into the global economy. In order to succeed, improving the quality of human resources and the competitiveness of the country is an urgent requirement. Education integration is key to this, but comes at a time when Vietnam is lacking a well-established and qualified education system.”

“It is necessary to quickly and comprehensively internationalise the national education, to train international knowledge workers, and to develop international skills, experiences, standards and international quality,” he adds. “Therefore, the government would like to open up and attract more foreign investors in education.”

According to Phan Manh Hung, this cap on local student attendance has been the major barrier for attracting foreign investment within the education sector, particularly in the second-tier centres outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.