Vietnam education system is divided into three stages. The first one is preschool education for children from 3 to 6 years old. The second one is the basic education which includes three levels: primary school, which goes from first to fifth grade, usually for children from 6 to 11; junior high school from sixth o ninth grade, usually for teenagers from 12 to 15; and high school from tenth to twelfth grade, for teenagers from 16 to 18. After 12 years of basic education, one can continue with advanced studies such as university, college, or vocational schools. Only very small percentage of the population continues to post-graduate studies, though this number is rising rapidly.
There have been many steady advances in Vietnam education in recent decades. In 1945, the illiteracy rate was 95% and yet just a year later, 2.520.678 people escaped illiteracy. In 2000, Vietnam completed its mission in eliminating illiteracy and universalizing primary school. In 2010, universalizing junior high school was completed. As time progresses, more and more educational reforms are implemented.
Developing education system is a top priority of Vietnamese. Every year, a considerable portion of national budget is invested in education. Reforms are seen in improving educational material facilities, teaching, learning and managing capacity. School fees are subsidized at public institutions and textbooks are made affordable for all students.
In recent years, a number of foreign-invested institutions have permeated Vietnam education landscape, which caters to the need of expats and upper class. They offer high quality education with foreign or foreign-trained instructors. The syllabus and teaching quality can match that of the international counterparts, and these schools are mostly based in big metropolitan area such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.