Compared to many other developing countries,
Vietnam has a well-developed school system, with roots
in Confucian educational tradition. The school is twelve
years old, but compulsory schooling only prevails during
the first five year stage.
Almost all children start school at the age of six,
but around a third do not lose the equivalent of high
school. Among those who fall away, the minority people
Formally, the first stage should be completely free
of charge but fees are usually charged for textbooks and
other school materials. From the sixth grade a school
money is taken out. Poor families get the fee reduced.
Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of
Vietnam, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and
Country facts of Vietnam, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The government has prioritized education despite
financial difficulties and long wars. Critics, however,
point out that education is too focused on measurable
knowledge and practice prior to graduation, and that
many well-educated Vietnamese lack the habit of applying
knowledge and thinking critically.
Despite the success, especially in rural areas, the
school is often of low quality. In the highlands where
many minority people live there is a teacher shortage.
Just over one in four students who leave high school
continue to study. There are over 430 universities and
colleges in the country.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
98.0 percent (2013)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
93.5 percent (2009)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
18.5 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
18.5 percent (2013)
The new president takes office
The National Assembly elects the Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu
Trong as new president with 476 yes votes to 1 no vote. As both president and
party secretary general, he becomes the country's most powerful person.
Mother Mushroom flies to the United States
Internationally renowned Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, best known
as Mother Mushroom, is released from prison and flown directly to the United
States. In June 2017, Mother Mushroom was sentenced to ten years in prison for
propagating propaganda against the state. She started her blog in 2006 and
writes about social injustices in Vietnam and about political and environmental
The party leader is nominated for new president
Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong is nominated by the
party's Central Committee as Vietnam's new president. (Formally, he is elected
by the National Assembly on October 22). Nguyen thus became the first person
since the 1960s to hold the presidential and party leadership at the same time
(Ho Chi Minh was in both positions). Vietnam is usually ruled by the president,
the party's secretary general, the prime minister and the national assembly
president, and the posts are usually held by four different people. However, the
election of Nguyen Phu Trong is not expected to significantly change the balance
of power, as he is already a very influential politician. He is described as a
conservative party veteran and is best known for his fight against corruption
and dissent. Nguyen Phu Trong is the only candidate in the October 22
The President dies
President Tran Dai Quang dies after a period of illness. Vice President Dang
Thi Ngoc Thinh becomes Acting President.
Dozens of bankers are convicted of corruption
Forty-six former bank officials and businessmen are convicted of corruption
in connection with extensive bank loan fraud. The sentence for those convicted
will be imprisoned for up to 20 years. This is corruption worth more than $ 257
million. The government is trying to eradicate corruption and nepotism in
Vietnam's banking and finance world, but critics say that power holders at the
same time take the opportunity to remove political opponents. Despite major
anti-corruption campaigns, Vietnam still belongs to the countries of the world
that are pervaded by corruption.
Control is strengthened over social media
The National Assembly adopts a new law on cyber security. The law means that
internet companies such as Facebook and Google can be ordered to remove
regime-critical posts within 24 hours if they are deemed by the authorities to
be a "national threat". Companies must also store personal information about
users in Vietnam inland rather than now in Singapore and Hong Kong. The new law
also makes it prohibited to call for a general gathering or to dishonor the
Vietnamese flag, the country's leader or national "heroes". Media freedom is
already heavily circumscribed in Vietnam today, but the debate has been
relatively open on social media compared to traditional Vietnamese media. It is
unclear what punishments violate the new law. The law comes into force on
January 1, 2019.
More opposites are imprisoned
A further three people, including at least two members of the Brotherhood for
Democracy, are sentenced to up to nine years in prison for social destruction.
Democracy advocates are sentenced to prison
Another member of the network The Brotherhood for Democracy, 53-year-old
Nguyen Van Tuc, is sentenced to 13 years in prison for community outrage.
According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, at least 97
prisoners of conscience are behind bars in Vietnam, including advocates for
democracy, environmental activists, bloggers and human rights lawyers. Nguyen
Van Tuc was sentenced in 2008 to four years in prison for distributing leaflets
in support of multi-party democracy.
Six democracy activists are imprisoned
Six democracy activists are sentenced to between 7 and 15 years in prison for
social destruction. Among those convicted are the lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who was
sentenced to 15 years in prison following a one-day trial. All convicted are
linked to the Brotherhood of Democracy, a Vietnamese network of democracy
Former top politicians are retaliated for bribery
Dinh La Thang, a former member of the Politburo, is sentenced to 18 years in
prison for bribery. This is the second time Thang has been convicted of
corruption (see January 2018). Thang, who was formerly head of
the state-run oil company PetroVietnam, is one of the highest-ranking Communist
Party convicted of corruption.
Pacific free trade agreement clear
Vietnam, together with ten other countries, sign the CPTPP (Comprehensive and
Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Parthership) free trade agreement. The
agreement is also called TPP-11 and is a slightly revised version of TPP (see
Foreign Trade). The changes are a result of the US withdrawing from the TPP
before it came into force. The CPTPP is presented as a counter to the
anti-free-trade policy pursued by US President Donald Trump.
American aircraft carriers visit the country
The US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson adds to the port of Danang. It is the
first visit by an American aircraft carrier in Vietnam since the Vietnam War in
Long prison sentences for environmental protests
6th of February
A Vietnamese environmental activist is sentenced to 14 years in prison for
participating in protests against the Taiwanese steel mill Formosa, which in
2016 dumped toxic waste off central Vietnam's coast and caused extensive fish
deaths and other environmental degradation. The spill caused the fishing
families in the affected area to see their incomes fall sharply. A co-accused is
sentenced for the same crime to two years in prison.
The top manager receives a second lifetime sentence
Former chief executive of the state oil company PetroVietnam, Trinh Xuan
Thanh, is sentenced to a second life imprisonment for embezzlement (see also
January 2018). The latest verdict concerns the theft of $
620,000 from a state construction project.
Four are jailed for state hostile propaganda
Four members of the Buddhist group hoa hao (see Religion) are sentenced to
prison for between six and twelve years for spreading state-hostile propaganda
by hoisting the flag of southern Vietnam in April 2016, that is, the flag used
by the US-backed regime in southern Vietnam which was defeated by the communists
in the civil war. The Conservative government that took office in 2016 has
increased its stance against dissent. In 2017, at least 24 people were convicted
of hostile activities according to the individual organization Human Rights
Top politicians are sentenced to prison for corruption
Twenty-two former politicians or government officials are sentenced to prison
for corruption of various kinds in a Hanoi court. Dinh La Thang, who was fired
from the Communist Party's Politburo in May 2017, receives 13 years in prison
for financial mismanagement which led to the state oil company PetroVietnam
making huge losses. Another high-ranking chief of PetroVietnam, Trinh Xuan
Thanh, is sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzlement. His case gained
international attention in 2017 when Germany accused Vietnam of illegally
removing the suspect in Berlin, seeking political asylum. Back in Vietnam, Trinh
Xuan Thanh said he returned voluntarily, but his lawyer said his client was
forced by the regime to say so. The lawsuits against Dinh La Thang and Trinh
Xuan Thanh are considered by many analysts as a way for the Communist Party to
show that it takes the fight against corruption within the state seriously.
Other judges believe it is a disguised way for the new Conservative party
leadership to get rid of political opponents who have been influential within
the party under the former reform-friendly Prime Minister Dung. Twenty
defendants are sentenced at the same time to between 3 and 9 years in prison.