International school options in Vietnam

Vietnam is something of a hub for English-medium international schools, with excellent – and expanding – provision for families.

International Schools in Vietnam
The following article is from Relocate Global's Guide to APAC Education & Schools 2017. Packed with information on education around the Asia Pacific region with expert tips for those relocating and the professionals supporting them, the guide is a must read for: 
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Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is one of only 27 cities in the world that has more than 50 English-medium international schools. It currently boasts 66 schools (for preschool, primary or secondary students) that offer education in the English language and a curriculum that is relevant to an international student population.Ho Chi Minh City has 59 per cent of Vietnam’s international schools, and there’s a fairly even split of schools that are either British or American in their orientation. The country’s other major city, Hanoi, has 36 international schools to choose from.ISC Research, which tracks data on the world’s international schools, currently lists 29 schools in Vietnam offering International GCSEs, 13 offering the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), 11 offering the Advanced Placement (AP), and six offering A Levels. Eleven of Vietnam’s international schools give students the chance to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

Vietnam’s student intake

Some international schools in Vietnam have government-imposed restrictions on the number of Vietnamese children who can attend, which limit their enrolment to between 10 and 20 per cent of the total student population. These schools have long waiting lists of Vietnamese families, but regulations to ease the restrictions are due to be introduced in late 2017.Other international schools – those that hold local licences – have no restrictions on the intake of local children. These schools have to deliver certain requirements, such as a bilingual provision (English and Vietnamese) and the teaching of Vietnamese culture.According to the ISC, there is speculation about a relaxation, or a complete removal, of these government restrictions, which will herald a significant growth in Vietnamese international schools over the next few years as the market opens up and creates new opportunities for school growth and new development.Those international schools that provide such Vietnamese learning alongside internationally recognised curricula and examinations are particularly popular with wealthy local families who have aspirations for their children to gain a Western university degree but also develop their cultural identity.
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The British Vietnamese International School, in Ho Chi Minh City, is one example. It describes itself as offering a “best of both worlds” international education.The density of international schools in Ho Chi Minh City means that schools have to remain competitive in the quality and range of their education provision. The International School Ho Chi Minh City has a one-to-one tablet programme in both its middle school and its high school. Other schools have extensive sports or arts facilities, specialist science provision, and unique extracurricular activities to differentiate themselves and appeal to students and their families. 

Recent developments in Vietnam’s education system

Vietnam made global education news in March 2015 with the announcement that four of its international schools had merged with Nord Anglia Education, one of the world’s leading operators of international schools. The four schools of the British International Schools Group, Vietnam, which include the British International School, Hanoi, and the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City (which has three campuses in Districts 2 and 3), are now part of Nord Anglia’s group of 46 schools across 17 countries.Joining with Nord Anglia gives students at the Vietnam schools access to peers and education experts around the world, as well as the chance to benefit from Nord Anglia’s partnerships with such organisations as the Juilliard School (a world-renowned performing-arts conservatory in New York) and Africa’s Tanzania Expedition Centre.Another recent development has been the expansion of Concordia International School Hanoi. At the dedication of the school’s new Van Tri campus in September 2016, US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said, “I want [my children] to get involved with their community, to learn the value of service, to appreciate diversity, to respect others, and to develop a commitment to excellence. At Concordia, these are core values.”
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