Education as a driving force for economic development as
well as equality in education opportunities are key
political goals in Vietnam. Literacy has long been higher
than in almost all other countries at the same level of
development and it now stands at about 90%. It is the lowest
among older people in remote mountain regions.
The compulsory schooling is five years and starts at the
age of six. Almost 70% of the students go on to a middle
school that consists of four years. Thereafter, a three-year
secondary school is offered, which is completed with a
degree. Preschools are also becoming more common. Since the
end of the 1980s, all tuition is chargeable, even in
elementary school. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Vietnam.
The high proportion of literate students has been a
competitive advantage for Vietnam as foreign companies have
applied to Southeast Asia. Nowadays, however, literacy is
not enough, and the lack of more educated labor is becoming
an increasingly serious problem in Vietnam. Both the scope
and the quality of higher education are insufficient,
especially with regard to science and technology. In 2008,
there were more than 320 universities and colleges/
colleges in the country, but there is a very wide range in
their quality. No Vietnamese university is among the 200
best ranked in Asia.
In 2007, 12% of the state budget was allocated to the
education sector. Resource shortages are serious; Competent
teachers, premises and materials are lacking at all levels,
and the greatest is the lack of post-secondary education.
Elementary school has been decentralized, while higher
education is centrally and detailed controlled, which
hinders improvements. In 2009, Vietnam, as the only country,
received funding from the World Bank to develop higher
Hanoi, capital of United Vietnam since 1976; approximately 2.6 million residents
(2010). Hanoi is located approximately 100 km from the Gulf of Tonkin on the large
plain around the Red River and surrounded by large dikes for flood protection.
According to tradition, the city was founded in 1010 during the first Ly
dynasty, and it served as the capital until 1802, when the imperial city was
moved to HuÍ in central Vietnam. During the French occupation of the city in
1882, Hanoi was the administrative center of the Tonkin Protectorate and 1902-45
for the whole of French Indochina. The city was characterized by being both a
royal city with citadel and administration and a trading town with a marketplace
and associated craftsmanship. After the August Revolution of 1945, Ho Chi Minh
proclaimed the independent republic from Ba Dinh Square in the middle of the
city; it was the capital of North Vietnam until 1976.
The physical structure of the city has not changed fundamentally since the
colonial period. In the center is Lake Hoan Kiem and the old town with 36
narrow, low-divided streets. The houses are located in small rows of individual
designs with a characteristic sway in the back.
The economic reforms of the socialist economy in the 1990's have led to rapid
expansion in Hanoi. The city has become a dynamic economic center, and both
foreign capital and private motoring have begun to characterize the city. It has
been decided that the old town must be restored in order to preserve the
traditional feel. Industries, hotels and housing are rising between the old
houses, and in the suburbs, thatched cottages are being replaced by modern
residential complexes. At the construction sites, accidents happen at regular
intervals as construction workers dig unexploded bombs from the US air strikes
during the Vietnam War.