School in Vietnam

Despite the fact that Vietnam is a developing country, it boasts a very good standard of education and a literacy rate of over 90 percent.

Public schools in urban centres are generally good, but those in more rural areas tend to be under-resourced and understaffed. Still, for expats living in cities, public schools offer a huge saving in comparison to international schools, and are a viable option particularly for those expats who plan to stay in Vietnam long term.

For those who can afford it, Vietnam offers plenty of choice in terms of international schooling. There has been a growth in the number of international schools in the country in response to the demands of the growing expat population, and these tend to be favoured by expats only staying in the country for a short while.

Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

Foreign nationals legally living and working in Vietnam have the right to send their children to Vietnamese public schools. While this offers an excellent opportunity for children to assimilate culturally by mixing with local students, there are also certain difficulties that are worth bearing in mind.

Firstly, expat students may find the teaching methods employed at Vietnam’s public schools quite alien; students are expected to study quietly and passively, which contradicts the more innovative learning methods and active class discussions encouraged in Western cultures.

However, the situation is slowly changing with a small number of schools in Ho Chi Minh City departing from traditional Vietnamese methods of teaching and offering a more dynamic learning environment based on critical thinking. 

International schools in Vietnam are a fairly new phenomenon – the oldest international school in the country was established less than 30 years ago – but over the past few decades, many new international schools have emerged to fill a gap in the market and cater for the country’s rapidly growing expat population.

The top international schools tend to employ native English speakers or teachers who were trained in the country that the particular school is affiliated with. A major draw of these institutions is that they follow the curriculum of a particular country or an internationally recognised programme such as the International Baccalaureate (IB).

The most popular international schools in Vietnam tend to be oversubscribed and there are long waiting lists, so it's best to make applications as soon as possible. Luckily, most international schools in Vietnam accept applications throughout the school year to accommodate for the transient nature of the country’s expat population.

Admission requirements at international schools in Vietnam vary. Some have entrance exams that test potential students for their proficiency in Maths and English. In other cases, students and their parents may be required to attend an interview.

The major downside to international schools in Vietnam are the financial implications. Fees are high, with additional costs for services such as bus transport, cafeteria lunches, uniforms, extra-curricular activities and field trips. Expats who choose to have their child attend an international school in Vietnam should therefore try to negotiate an allowance for school fees into their expat employment contract.