Expats relocating to Hanoi will find that the city has a range of education options, both public and private. While Vietnam's curriculum is sometimes seen as overly rigorous, expat parents can be sure that their children will at least not be receiving a substandard education.
Despite the good quality of public education, many expat parents prefer to send their children to international schools instead where they can be taught in their home language and, in many cases, can continue with their home country's curriculum.
Public schools in Hanoi
In Vietnam, it is compulsory to attend school from the ages of six to 11. During this period, public school tuition is free of charge. Thereafter, schooling is optional and fees apply.
The Vietnamese government has been criticised for the short duration of compulsory attendance and the curriculum's focus on tests and essays rather than life skills. Despite this, many expat parents still feel confident in the quality of Vietnamese education and those who can't afford the sky-high costs associated with international schools are generally happy to opt for a good public school instead.
International schools in Hanoi
Although Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's main hub of international schools, Hanoi has a fair few excellent international schools on offer, too. However, like many international schools around the world, Hanoi's international schools suffer from over-subscription, and it can be difficult to secure a spot. For this reason, it's important to start the application process as early as possible.
Although there are many benefits to international schools, expat parents should be aware that tuition costs are uniformly high among them. To cover this, it is advisable for expat parents to try to negotiate an education allowance as part of their relocation package.
Special-needs education in Hanoi
In the past, Vietnam operated on a policy of separating special-needs students from mainstream schools. However, since the early 2000s, Vietnam has adopted a more progressive and inclusive approach to education for students with special needs, focusing on integration with mainstream schools and classes. Along with public schools, numerous private schools and NGOs in Hanoi offer similar services, with interventions varying depending on the level of care the student is in need of.
Tutors in Hanoi
In Vietnam, after-school tutoring is popular, with more than a third of households making use of tutors. Education is highly valued and students often face pressure to succeed, leading to a booming tutoring industry.
Expats will be spoilt for choice with everything from subject-specific tutoring to more general language and exam preparation. The right tutor can also help expat children adjust to a new curriculum, providing support as they catch up to their peers. Recommended local companies include Everest Education and International Tutor Group.