In Vietnam, education plays a very important role. The promotion of learning and respect for teachers are amongst the traditional values of the Vietnamese people. In the recent years, the education system has continued to expand, but enormous educational needs persist for young Vietnamese citizens.
The national education system consists of formal education and continuing education. Schools in the national educational system are organized in the forms of public and private schools. According to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), as of AY 2016 – 2017, there are 235 universities and colleges, of which 170 are public and 65 are private. (Source)
The administration in Vietnam is centralized. MOET has responsibility for all education and training at the national level. However, there are several higher education institutions in Vietnam that are under other national ministries, government agencies or provincial people’s committees. Examples of this are the Hanoi School of Public Health, which falls under the Ministry of Health, and Hanoi University of Industry, which falls under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Additionally, the two National Universities, although nominally under MOET, operate independently as separate entities and report directly to the Office of the Government of Vietnam. The three regional universities, Thai Nguyen University in the north, Hue University and the University of Danang in the central, are under MOET and subject to management by the provincial People’s Committee.
The Vietnamese educational system is undergoing reforms, including to textbooks, curriculum and teaching methods, and its institutions are not always up to international standards, especially in the case of higher education. Out-of-date teaching methods are a key issue: Teachers focus more on providing subject matter content with limited discussion and interaction, while students are passively listening and studious. Vietnamese see the U.S. higher education system as the world standard.
In order to support Vietnamese higher education, in 2014 U.S. Congress allocated funding to create an American-style, independent university in Vietnam. Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) was established in 2016 as the first private non-profit university in the country, inspired by the American liberal education tradition.
To facilitate educational reform, the Vietnamese government has established policies to allow educational institutions to set up direct relations with foreign institutions to improve teaching and learning quality in Vietnam.
Because of the dynamic state of Vietnam’s educational system, Fulbright Scholars will have a unique opportunity to help Vietnam build its institutions. While this can be challenging and may require flexibility, many Fulbrighters in Vietnam find it enormously rewarding and build long-lasting relationships with Vietnamese institutions that lead to future cooperation.
Fulbright Scholars in Vietnam are able to teach or teach and conduct research in all disciplines. For teaching grants, time will also be spent consulting and advising host institutions on curriculum and program development as well as providing staff training.