July 2010
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

A broad consensus has emerged in Vietnam that higher education is in need of deep and wide-reaching reform. This consensus extends from students and their families to public intellectuals and educators to policymakers at the highest levels of government. Vietnam‘s national competitiveness increasingly depends on skilled human capital, which its higher education system is not delivering. Ever growing numbers of families are choosing to send their children abroad for undergraduate and even high school education in order for them to acquire the skills and credentials needed to succeed in the global economy. Study abroad, however, is only an option for a lucky elite of university-age students. If Vietnam is to achieve growth with equity, tap its best talent, and fulfill its economic potential, it must improve its domestic higher education system.

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