Under current regulations, international schools in Vietnam that are entirely foreign-owned are limited to enrolling just 10 per cent of pupils from the local population at primary level and 20 per cent at secondary.
Plans to remove this cap later this year could lead to existing schools expanding and new schools opening, market analysts ISC Research said. The Vietnamese government hopes that the plans will provide international education to some of the 110,000 Vietnamese students who currently move abroad to study.
According to ISC Research, children as young as twelve and thirteen are being sent to independent boarding schools, primarily in the UK, US, Australia and Singapore.
Experts predict that lifting the restrictions could produce an international schools boom similar to that in Malaysia where enrolment caps were lifted in 2012 (see infographic).
Phan Manh Hung, the lawyer supporting Vietnam’s education deparment to develop a new policy on international schools, said: ‘Vietnam is entering a period of unprecedented and comprehensive integration into the global economy.
‘In order to succeed, improving the quality of human resources and the competitiveness of the country is an urgent requirement.’
He added it was vital to ‘internationalise’ education in the country. ‘Therefore the government would like to open up and attract more foreign investors in education,’ he said.
Richard Gaskell, ISC director of schools, said, ‘Some international schools that provide bilingual learning have been able to avoid these restrictions and attract many local families.
'However, most international schools in Vietnam are directly impacted by the enrolment cap. Many have long waiting lists of local Vietnamese families hoping for a place for their child’.