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March 31, 2020

Vietnam Will Require International Schools to Teach Vietnamese Classes

On March 18, 2020, Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training issued Circular No. 04/2020/TT-BGDDT detailing a number of articles of the Government’s Decree No. 86/2018/ND-CP dated 6 June 2018 on Foreign Cooperation and Investment in Education (“Circular 4”). Circular 4 will take effect on May 5, 2020, and sets out, among other things, new requirements for international schools to provide compulsory Vietnamese language and culture studies to Vietnamese students. Circular 4 also provides detailed regulations on approval of integrated education programs (curricula combining international and Vietnamese education).

The most notable change introduced by Circular 4 is that Vietnamese language and Vietnamese studies programs will be compulsory for pupils who are Vietnamese citizens studying in international schools invested/jointly invested by foreign investors.

Specifically, Vietnamese students attending international preschool programs must study Vietnamese language development at least twice a week, for 25-35 minutes each time. Vietnamese students attending international primary school programs must study Vietnamese language programs at least 140 minutes per week in all primary grades, and students from fourth grade to fifth grade must also study Vietnamese studies at least 70 minutes per week. Vietnamese students attending international middle school and high school programs, in all grades, must study Vietnamese studies at least 90 minutes per week.

In regard to detailed regulations on approval of integrated education programs, Circular 4 provides that an integrated curriculum must be reviewed by an appraisal council which will be set up in accordance with the Minister of Education and Training’s decision to ensure that the content and duration of the particular program are appropriate to the pyscho-physiology of the students and the fine traditions and customs of Vietnam, and show no social prejudices about gender, ethnicity, religion, or social status. Circular 4 further sets out the procedure and timeline for requesting the council to review and consider requesting the Minister of Education and Training to approve a particular integrated education curriculum.

For more information on Circular 4, please contact us at [email protected].

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