Educational Reform in Viet Nam: a process of change or continuity?
Comprehensive national educational change is a complex and often difficult process. In countries such as Viet Nam where the government exercises tight control over social and economic development strategies, wide scale changes to an education system are often not possible. Viet Nam's increasing engagement with private sector development has, however, enabled greater flexibility for improving and strengthening its education system. In response to Viet Nam's transition to a market economy, educational planners have had to consider strategies for making the education system more responsive to current and future labour demands. Accordingly, beginning in the early 1990s, the Government of Viet Nam put in place policies to enable the education system to 'modernise'. Guided by the principle that an investment in education is an investment in economic development, the government has pursued and continues to pursue an agenda of educational reform by means of curriculum reform. Early evidence indicates that despite an initial rapid development and implementation of change-driven policies and strategic directions, the pace of reform is slowing down. The thesis of this paper is that a programme of substantial education change and innovation in Viet Nam is actually a programme of cautious reform based on select targeting of particular school populations, in this case, populations in the larger cities, economic priority zones and urban areas.
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