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Far-reaching reforms are planned for Vietnam’s higher education system, Alison Goddard writes from Ho Chi Minh City.

Rising prosperity and increased international mobility have reached Vietnam. Over the past decade the country—which joined the World Trade Organisation in 2007—has achieved an impressive and sustained annual economic growth rate of around seven per cent. Now the nation seeks to invest in higher education in order to continue to prosper.

Some 1.45 million youngsters from Vietnam’s population of an estimated 90 million people are enrolled in higher education, according to officials. They plan to expand the university system, which historically has been based on the former Soviet system, and to allow more private provision. At present there are 205 universities, of which 54 are private. There are also a handful of foreign institutions operating in the country. In February the World Bank handed Vietnam $50m to help develop its higher education system by implementing policies designed to strengthen the governance, financing and quality of higher education in Vietnam.

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