ADB, Viet Nam to Improve Skills, Close Labor Gaps with Better Education

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $90 million in fresh funds to help Viet Nam strengthen teaching skills and courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and social sciences, to ensure upper secondary graduates have the skills to meet the country’s labor needs.

View photo essay on investing in Viet Nam's youth.

“Viet Nam’s thriving economy has highlighted a gap between what schools teach and what employers need. This project will help prepare young people for the job market, with a special focus on increasing opportunities for women and girls, people with special needs, and students coming from poor households,” said Eiko Izawa, Senior Education Specialist in the Southeast Asia Department at ADB.

The Second Upper Secondary Education Development Project focuses on improving teaching standards by introducing international standards, new training methods and providing new training materials; upgrading curricula, including investing in textbooks; and providing targeted support for students who are struggling academically. It builds on earlier ADB assistance to improve the sector.

Viet Nam’s economy has been booming since the 1980s, with the country reaching middle income status in 2010. However, future growth will depend on a labor force skilled enough to meet the needs of the job market. At present less than 30% of young workers―who comprise half the workforce―have completed upper secondary schooling.

Although enrolment and completion rates for upper secondary have moved up sharply over the past decade, academic performance remains relatively low compared with other ASEAN members. Retention is an issue, with only about three-quarters of impoverished students completing upper secondary school, well below the national average.

The project will open up opportunities for teachers to receive training abroad; improve English-language education; build laboratory equipment and teaching aids for physics, chemistry and biology; and develop classrooms and materials for students with disabilities. Targeted assistance for ethnic minority students will be provided. The project will also examine the feasibility of allowing private educators to have an increased role in the state sector through public private partnerships.

The project will run for about seven years, with an expected completion date of December 2019.