HANOI (AFP) -Wearied by the rampant cheating, endless rote learning and mandatory Leninist ideology classes, Vietnam’s middle-classes are fleeing the country’s school system for overseas education.
Every year, Vietnamese parents spend more than $1 billion sending their children to schools and colleges abroad, according to data from independent monitors, shunning a local system so backwards that experts say it is impeding economic growth.
From teenagers sent to secondary schools in Singapore to university students studying at prestigious American institutions, at least 125,000 Vietnamese students are studying overseas, according to ICEF Monitor, which tracks the international education industry.
The figure represents just a fraction of the nation’s near-17 million school and university students, but it is growing fast – up 15 per cent year-on-year in 2013 alone.
Civil servant Nguyen Thi Thu sold family property to cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for her two sons to study overseas.
“I had to get my kids out of this education system which is all pressure and cheating,” she told AFP.
When her sons – who both now study in the UK – were attending state schools in Hanoi, Thu says she had to regularly miss work to take them to additional private classes held by poorly-paid state teachers.
“Once, my son asked me why he never got the top score even though he performed better than his friend. I couldn’t explain that his friend’s mother took better care of the teacher, giving her much money,” she said.