Vocational Training (Vocational Education and Training – VET) of Vietnam has a quiet, long-standing history of development tied to crafts in traditional villages and agricultural production. For the most part, there are signs of vocational learning and teaching in many villages of the country. VET has changed over time and its benefits have been confirmed in its role of training a labour force that is crucial for the development of the economic progress of the country.
The VET system was officially legalized by the Law on Education 2005 and the Law on Vocational Education and Training 2006. However, the system was not synchronous at that time because it was separated in different training levels and state management scope.
On November 27, 2014, the Law on Vocational Education and Training was approved by the 13th National Assembly at the 8th Conference, came into effect on July 1, 2015. In fact, this law institutionalized the fundamental and comprehensive education reform in general, VET in particular, in accordance with the Resolution of the 8th meeting of the 11th Central Executive Committee; solved in many inadequacies in practice, contributed to create new image of VET system in Vietnam and meet integration requirements with countries in the region and all over the world.
The Law on Vocational Education and Training has lots of innovation highlights such as: structure of system, names of institutions, training, management organization; enrolment; duration of training; training programs; tests, examinations, acknowledgement of graduation and granting diplomas and certificates; innovative policies to the learners, to the teachers, to the VET institutions, to the enterprises; innovation, enhancing autonomy of institutions and international cooperation in VET. The following information provides some key contents of VET system in accordance with the Law on Vocational Education and Training.
1. The National Education System of Vietnam
The national education system of Vietnam consists of pre-school education, basic education, vocational education and training and tertiary education:
– Pre-school education: nursery, kindergarten;
– Basic education: primary education, lower secondary and upper secondary education;
– Vocational education and training: elementary level, intermediate level and college level;
– Tertiary education: university education, master and doctor philosophy.
2. National Qualifications Framework
Pursuant to the Decision No. 1982/QĐ-TTg dated October 18, 2016 of the Prime Minister, the National Qualifications Framework includes 8 levels in which 5 related to levels of VET (Table 2).
Figure 2. VET levels in the Vietnamese National Qualifications Framework
3. Training levels
VET provides three training levels: elementary level, intermediate level, and college level. Training duration as well as diplomas and certificates are described as in the Table below:
|Levels||Entrance requirements||Training duration||Diplomas/ Certificates|
|Elementary level 1
Elementary level 2
Elementary level 3
|Enough health condition||From 03 months to under 01 year||Elementary level certificate 1
Elementary level certificate 2
Elementary level certificate 3
|Intermediate level||Graduated from lower secondary schools||From 01 year to 02 years depending on the disciplines or vocational training||Intermediate level diploma (cannot move to higher training level)|
|Graduated from upper secondary schools (or satisfied requirements pertaining to cultural knowledge of upper secondary education as regulated)||From 01 to 02 years depending on training occupations||Intermediate level diploma (can move to higher training level)|
|College level||Graduated from upper secondary schools||From 02 to 03 years||College level degree (recognized as bachelor of practical training or practical engineers)|
|Graduated from secondary VET schools and satisfied requirements pertaining to cultural knowledge of upper secondary education as regulated.||From 01 year to 02 years|
4. Training areas
VET of Vietnam has the widest range of occupations in the national education system. There are 825 intermediate level occupations, 559 college level, distributed in 21 vocational areas and 90 categories of occupations, covering every economic activities, not counting thousands of elementary level occupations and short-term vocational training programs.
Besides technical fields, technology fields such as computers, information technology, engineering; architecture and construction; production and processing; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; environment and environmental protection etc., there are also different areas such as teachers; culture and arts; languages (English, German, French, Japanese and so on); the press and information; business and management; legislation; health care; social services; transportation services; hotel and hospitality; security and defence, etc.
5. Vocational Education and training institutions
VET institutions consist of VET centers, secondary VET schools and colleges to educate and train all levels of VET (Table 3)
|Secondary VET schools||
– College level
– Intermediate level
– Elementary level
– Intermediate level
– Elementary level
– Elementary level
– Early Education
Table3. Vocational Education and training institutions
6. Types of vocational education and training institutions
VET institutions are organized in the following types:
Public institutions include those owned by the State, those whose infrastructure is invested and constructed by the State
Private VET institutions include those owned by social organizations, social-professional organizations, private or individual economic organizations; those whose infrastructure is invested and constructed by social organizations, social-professional organizations, private or individual economic organizations
Foreign-invested vocational education and training institutions
Foreign-invested VET institutions include those with 100% foreign capital; those of joint ventures between domestic and foreign investors.
7. Training forms of vocational education and training
There are two training forms in VET: formal training and continuing training.
Formal training is the form of full-time training organized for elementary, intermediate and college levels.
Continuing training is the form of training-on-the-job, distance learning or guided self-learning at intermediate and college levels, implemented in a flexible manner in term of curricula, duration and method.
8. Programs and training organization
According to the regulations of the Vocational Law, the Ministry of Labour – War Invalids and Social Affairs promulgated the curriculum framework for occupations at intermediate and college levels. VET institutions issued syllabi of teaching programs.
Pursuant to the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the government does not issue the curriculum frameworks, but asks VET institutions to formulate their own training programs based on learning outcomes promulgated by the government.
In training organization and management, apart from VET organization by annum (the traditional approach), there are two more new approaches: A credit-based VET and module-based VET. VET institutions have the right to choose these approaches depending on their conditions. With above approaches, develop the VET toward openness, flexibility , ensure the permeability between VET levels and with other education and training levels; learners become the epicenter of any education process, educated and trained based on their own capacities, conditions and their family situations; can learn lots of contents at the same time and are recognized by accumulating their different abilities; shortening or lengthening training programs completely depends on the trainees’ abilities, conditions and their own situations.
9. Some policies on vocational education and training
* Policies for trainees
– Exemption of tuition fees: the trainees are eligible for exemption of tuition fees by the State in the following cases:
+ Trainees at intermediate, college level who have contribution to the revolution and their relatives as regulated by law; ethnic minority people belonging to poor, pro-poor households; ethnic minority people living in socioeconomically disadvantaged arrears; helpless orphans;
+ Lower-secondary graduates when undertaking VET at intermediate level;
+ Intermediate, college level trainees for occupations with enrolment difficulty but demanded by the society; as per; trainees who learn special occupation to meet the requirements of socio-economic development and national defence and security.
– Supporting policies: Trainees shall be supported from the State in the following cases:
+ Trainees who are women, rural labour participating in elementary level VET and VET program with duration of less than 3 months are supported with training fees;
+ Graduates from ethnic minority boarding lower and upper secondary schools, including boarding schools run by people, are enrolled directly into public intermediate schools or colleges;
+ Trainees who are ethnic minority people belonging to poor, pro-poor households, people with disabilities; trainees who are “Kinh” people belonging to poor, pro-poor household or people with disabilities living in socio-economically severely disadvantaged areas ethnic minority areas, border or island areas; graduates from boarding ethnic minority upper schools engaging in intermediate, college level are entitled to policy on boarding VET as regulated.
– Recruitment and honorable policies
Trainees after graduation enjoy the following policies:
+ Be recruited to work for state agencies, socio-political organization, public non-business units, armed force as regulated; prioritize people who possess at least very good graduation diploma;
+ Be paid with salary according to agreement with their employer on the basic of job placement, working capacity, efficiency but not lower than the standard, minimum or starting salary for jobs or positions required intermediate, college qualification as regulated by law;
+ Trainees who have graduated at college-level will be awarded with college level VET diplomas and recognized as bachelor of practical training or practical engineer.
– Other policies for trainees
+ During the VET course, if trainees can not continue their study due to their performance of military service, ailment, accidents, maternity, poor health or difficulties of families, they are entitled to reserve their study results and can resume their VET to accomplish the training course. The time for reserve of VET results does not exceed 05 years.
+ Trainee’s knowledge and skills acquired during working process and trainee’s results of modules, credits, subjects accumulated during learning process of all levels of VET, are recognized and are not required to learn them again when participating in other VET programs.
+ The State carries out policies on VET for labourers who wish to work overseas. If trainees go to work overseas before completing their studies, they are entitled to reserve their study results. The reservation of study results is not more than 05 years.
+ Winners at national, ASEAN and international skill contests are commended and rewarded in accordance with regulations of the law on emulation and on emulation and commendation.
+ First-, second- and third-prize winners at the national skill contests are enrolled directly into colleges for training in occupation compatible with those for which they have won prizes in the case that they posses intermediate diploma and upper secondary graduation diploma or they posses intermediate diploma and completed sufficient volume of upper secondary knowledge, passed graduation exams for basic subjects at upper secondary level as regulated by law
+ First-, second- and third-prize winners at ASEAN and international skills contests are enrolled directly into universities for training in occupations compatible with those for which they have won prizes in the case that they possess upper secondary graduation diploma or they possess intermediate diploma and completed sufficient volume of upper secondary knowledge, passed graduation exams for basic subjects at upper secondary level as regulated by law.
* Policies for vocational education and training institutions
According to the Law on Vocational Education and Training, VET institutions are eligible for following supporting policies:
– Tax incentives as regulated by law on taxes; tax exemption for undistributed income which is used as reinvestment for development of socialized VET institutions;
– Tax exemption, reduction as regulated by law for profits of products and services generated from VET activities; tax incentives for production and services relevant to/in the interest of the training, publication of syllabus, teaching materials, production and supply of vocational education and training equipment, import of books, magazines, materials and training equipment;
VET institutions regardless of types of institutions, state-owned institutions or private institutions, can take part in bidding for VET orders in accordance with regulations on tendering, ordering public non business services funded by the state budget; apply for preferential loans from domestic and overseas projects, programs; participate in further training programs for teachers and management staff in and out of the country funded by the state budget.
Besides, the VET institutions enhance autonomy and responsibility for the cases below: The VET institution funded by the state budget is entitled to make decisions on capital mobilization, on utilization of capital the capital and assets relevant to its assigned tasks and for expansion and improvement of training quality; be autonomous and self responsible for managing and using the assets generated from non-state budget funds.
Foreign-invested VET institutions are autonomous in their organizational structure. The public VET institutions that can ensure all of its regular expenses and investment spending is entitle to be comprehensively autonomous and self accountable manner; recruit, use and manage teachers, staff, officials and decide the number of employees and pay salaries based on their effectiveness, quality of the work.
* Policies for enterprises
Enterprises take part in VET activities having the same rights and same responsibilities.
Enterprises establish a VET institutions; provide vocational training of elementary level and continuing training programs; join the school council of public secondary general schools and colleges join the management boards of private secondary general schools and colleges; participate in the formulation of the lists of training occupations, the in syllabus and curriculum development, organization of training; instructing practical training and assessing learning outcomes of learners in VET institutions; collaborate with VET institutions to organize training of elementary, intermediate and college levels, continuing training programs; place training order to VET institution or of the State … and be exempted income tax for all expenses used in VET.
10. State management agency of central level of vocational education and training
According to the Law on Education 2005 and the Law on Vocational Education and Training, the State management agencies of central level of vocational education and training are the Ministry of Labour – War invalids and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Training. The Ministry of Labour – War invalids and Social Affairs manages vocational colleges, vocational secondary general schools and vocational training centers. The Ministry of Education and Training manages professional intermediate schools and colleges.
In 2017, the Ministry of Labour-War invalids and Social Affairs was assigned by the Government to manage the VET system except the pedagogical field.
In 2019, to institutionalize the assignment of the Government, the Law on Education (Amending and Supplementing) prescribes the Ministry of Labour – War invalids and Social Affairs responsible towards the Government for implementation of state management in VET except the pedagogical field (intermediate pedagogical education, college-level pedagogical education).
Therefore, the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training is an unit of the Ministry of Labour – War invalids and Social Affairs assisting the Minister in managing, implementing legal policies on VET (except for pedagogical education) in the whole country; manages, carries out public services of VET as regulated by the law.
Department of Formal Traning