Survey: Vietnam tops SE Asia in terms of primary student learning outcomes

The results of the SEA-PLM in 2019 were announced at an online conference of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (Seameo) on December 1.

Many young female teachers have willingly went to mountainous areas in the Truong Son mountain range in Quang Tri province, home to svillages of the Van Kieu and Ta Oi ethnic groups, to spread knowledge amongst the ethnic children. Photo: NDO/Lam Quang Huy

Vietnam ranks first among Southeast Asian countries in terms of primary school student learning outcomes under the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) programme, reported VNA.

Launched in 2011, the SEA-PLM) aims to improve the quality of education through system-level monitoring of learner achievements. It supports Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) member countries to better measure the status of learning achievement among the general population and for specific groups by applying culturally appropriate metrics.

Among the six participating countries — Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines, primary school students in Vietnam ranked first in all three competencies surveyed, namely Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Specifically, in the Reading domain, Vietnamese students showed the highest average competency level of 6 (out of 6). The percentage of Vietnamese students achieving the sixth level of competency is 82 per cent.

In terms of Writing, Vietnamese students had an average capacity of 6 out of 8. The percentage of students reaching the eighth proficiency level was 20 per cent. This rate in the remaining countries was 2 to 4 per cent.

In Mathematics, Vietnamese students had an average competency level of 8 out of 9. The percentage of children with the highest level of competency (level 9) was 42 per cent. The rates among the remainder were all below 10 per cent.

Students during a Vietnamese language learning class at Tran Nhan Tong Primary School in Nam Dinh Province. Photo: NDO

Parental educational attainment has a great influence on children's educational performance. Specifically, the higher the educational attainment the parents have, the better their children's learning results. The learning gap between urban and rural students as assessed by SEA-PLM has narrowed, with almost no difference remaining. However, students in mountainous and remote areas are still lagging far behind students from other regions.

In 2019, the survey was conducted at 150 schools in Vietnam with 832 teachers, 4,837 students and 4,160 parents taking part.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Van Phuc assessed that SEA-PLM gives participating countries an objective and fair measure of their quality of education, creating opportunities for countries to learn and share experiences and policies in the development of education.

The programme results will help the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam identify immediate and long-term policies for the development of primary education. In particular, the ministry will focus on developing education for mountainous students, supporting ethnic minority students in difficult circumstances, building a strategy to improve education for parents and investing more on schoolboys.

Vietnam, has dedicated itself to educating its population with significant progress has been made towards realizing basic quality education for all in the country

In recent years, Vietnam’s higher education has made breakthrough progress in quality, which has been recognized internationally. Joint training programs between Vietnam’s universities and foreign partners have seen considerable increase in quantity (more than 350 programs with partners from over 30 countries) and have improved in quality.

More of Vietnam’s education establishments and university majors have been listed in the world’s prestigious rankings. About 21,000 foreign students are studying in Vietnam, including 15,000 studying for bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees. 

Mai Nguyen