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WB: Vietnam seeing improvements in education quality

Released at: 15:24, 15/03/2018

WB: Vietnam seeing improvements in education quality

Photo from giaoduc.net.vn

World Bank releases "Growing Smarter: Learning and Equitable Development in East Asia and the Pacific" report on March 15.

by Linh San

The East Asia and Pacific region has seven of the top ten best-performing education systems in the world, with schools in China and Vietnam showing significant progress, according to a new World Bank report released on March 15 entitled “Growing Smarter: Learning and Equitable Development in East Asia and the Pacific”.

This is a major accomplishment that offers important lessons to countries around the world. In the rest of the region, however, up to 60 per cent of students are in under-performing schools that fail to equip them with the skills necessary for success.

The report argues that improving education is necessary to sustain economic growth and highlights the ways that countries in the region have been able to improve learning outcomes.

“Providing a high-quality education to all children, regardless of where they are born, isn’t just the right thing to do,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific. “It’s also the foundation of a strong economy and the best way to stop and reverse rising inequalities.”

According to the report, of the Above-Average Performing Systems, Vietnam allocates more spending per capita to geographically disadvantaged provinces and districts and pays teachers serving in those disadvantaged areas higher salaries than teachers in cities, through various types of allowances.

In response to PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results, Vietnam changed the legal framework for large-scale exams to diversify testing methods, improve item quality, and pave the way for competency-based assessment. Broadening sample-based national diagnostic assessment of reading, math, and Vietnamese was also a key part of curriculum reform. PISA has been important in Japan, in tandem with the national assessment, in driving and monitoring education reform.

Teachers’ salaries correlate with student performance in economies with per capita GDP above $20,000 a year. Vietnam has been a much better performer in PISA than Thailand, where teachers are better paid than in Vietnam. In Indonesia, to meet the 2002 constitutional mandate to allocate 20 per cent of the government budget to education, teacher salaries have increased sharply over the last decade, but without observable gains in learning outcomes, the World Bank found in a 2013 report. In Malaysia, teachers earn more than twice as much as per capita GDP, but student performance is worse than in Thailand, where teachers earn 25 per cent more than per capita GDP.

Historically, most wealthier countries used to allocate more to lower levels of education. Vietnam, however, still prioritizes public investment in primary and secondary education more than the Top Performing Systems do, the report noted.

“Effective policies for the selection, motivation, and support of teachers as well as sound practices in the classroom are what determine how much students learn,” said Jaime Saavedra, the World Bank’s Senior Director for Education. “For policymakers looking to improve their school systems, allocating existing budgets efficiently, coupled with strong political commitment, can make a real difference in the lives of children across the region.”

Students in China and Vietnam are among the top performers in developing East Asia and Pacific

Source: WB

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