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The decree may narrow international school network in Vietnam

The decree No. 73 prohibiting foreign invested schools receive Vietnamese children aged below 5 has raised the strong opposition from well-off parents.

VietNamNet Bridge – The decree No. 73 prohibiting foreign invested schools receive Vietnamese children aged below 5 has raised the strong opposition from well-off parents, who say because of which their children would lose the opportunities to study in a high quality environment.



About ¼ of the polled parents said they want to send their children to international schools, according to Nhip cau dau tu newspaper.

A report of the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that by February 2013, Vietnam had received 170 foreign direct investment projects in the educational sector with the total investment capital of $468 million.

Most of the projects have small scale, capitalized at $2.8 million for each. With the modest number of projects, 170 out of the 14,100 projects registered so far, educational sector ranks the 17th out of the 18 sectors Vietnam has attracted foreign investment to.

However, the Ministry of Education and Training still has set up limitations on the FDI in the educational sector.

The decree No. 73 stipulates that the children at the ages of below must not go to international schools. Meanwhile, the number of Vietnamese students at foreign invested primary and secondary schools must not be higher than 10 percent of the total students of the schools. The proportion is 20 percent for foreign invested high schools.

In the Vietnamese mind, international schools are understood as the schools for foreigners with modest percentages of Vietnamese students.

However, in fact, the operation of many international schools has been depending on Vietnamese students. Some of the schools have very high proportions of Vietnamese students, such as Renaissance International School Saigon, where 40 percent of students are Vietnamese, ABC International School 53 percent, KinderWorld and FOSCO International School both at 70 percent.

Therefore, it is foreseeable that the limitation on the number of Vietnamese students at international schools would have big impacts on the foreign invested education establishments. Some of the schools have reportedly thought of cutting down the numbers of students and narrowed the operation scale.

However, analysts have pointed out that not all international schools are the subjects to be covered by the decree 73.

These include the international schools set up by the state owned units in cooperation with foreign institutions.

One of the schools is SIC, which is the “product” of the HCM City Education and Training Department and the Government of Western Australia's Department of Education. The students finishing the school will have the high school diploma certifying that they finish the Vietnamese curriculums and the diploma to be granted by the Australia education department.

SIC, which has been invested and put under the direct management by a state agency, is beyond the coverage of the decree 73.

The schools not covered by the decree, are the ones set up by private investors in cooperation with foreign education organizations.

However, the representatives of the schools have also expressed their worry about the impacts of the new decree.

Trinh Quang Dong from Canada International School said the decree would make it more difficult for Vietnamese investors to call for foreign investments in the educational sector in Vietnam.

He went on to say that the restriction will not bring any benefits to the Vietnamese education, and it will keep the foreign investors away from Vietnam, where the FDI capital in the educational sector remains modest.



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