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Vietnamese Are Spending $3bn on Overseas Education

Vietnamese students and their families send roughly US$3 billion out of the country each year for overseas education.

The estimate was released earlier this month by the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) and its Education and Training Working Group in their annual Education and Training Position Paper.

By the VBF's assessment, more than 110,000 students currently study abroad in 47 countries, and that number is only growing as time goes on. With an average tuition cost of US$30,000-40,000 per student each year, Vietnam is losing a staggering amount of money to international education, reports the Vietnam Economic Times.

While there are several issues related to Vietnamese education outlined in the VBF paper, the group focuses on the lack of opportunity for local students to receive an international education within Vietnam. Current regulations in the country permit no more than 20% of an international school's student body to be Vietnamese, however this percentage is based as much upon foreign student enrollment as it is upon local learners.

“The limitations on Vietnamese students allowed to attend international schools, at 10 to 20%, as provided for in Article 24 of Decree No. 73, are extremely unreasonable,” wrote the group.

As demand for international education increases, more and more students have looked beyond Vietnam's borders. In “second-tier cities” – meaning mid-sized Vietnamese cities like Nha Trang and Hue – foreign-invested institutions are all but nonexistent, as a lack of foreign students means a loss of opportunity for their Vietnamese counterparts.

Though there are some concerns over whether Vietnamese students in international schools might lose their cultural identity, the group argues that going overseas is even more likely to have this effect. “This seems to be a conservative opinion, however, because if these students are not allowed to enroll at international schools in Vietnam they will go abroad,” the report reads.

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