The Asian Development Bank has approved a $100 million loan in total to help improve and strengthen Viet Nam’s secondary education quality, access, and management, equipping young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet current labor market demands.
Half of the amount for the Second Secondary Education Sector Development Program (SESDP II) will be under a policy-based loan facility to support ongoing reforms, with the other $50 million as project loan to cover base costs. Both loans will be financed from the Asian Development Fund, ADB’s concessional financing window.
“Viet Nam needs to focus on improving employability of young people to continue growing inclusively,” says Eiko K. Izawa, Senior Education Specialist for ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “This program will continue ADB’s commitment to help improve secondary education aligned to labor market needs for all young people of Viet Nam.”
While Viet Nam has enjoyed impressive growth and progress over recent years, it needs to transition from low-skilled labor-intensive activities to high-value knowledge-based industries to improve competitiveness and productivity. The country faces twin challenges of “skills gap” and “skills shortage”. There is also a lack of equitable access to secondary education, with 10% of lower secondary-aged youth not attending lower secondary school. Domestic migrant youth and youth with disabilities face serious challenges. Decentralization of education needs to be further promoted.
Under SESDP II, the project loan will help develop innovative pedagogical models while the policy-based loan will support the nationwide implementation. Components include capacity development, promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, development of instruction materials for youth with disabilities, as well as cognitive skills-oriented locally tailored vocational orientation programs.
This objective is to mandate 440 schools nationwide to implement the upgraded teaching and learning, and train more than 30,000 secondary teachers. The program will also expand access of disadvantaged groups to secondary education for better employment opportunities. The Government of Viet Nam will contribute $7 million to the $107 million cost of the project, which is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2023.