Capacity building through professional development and collaborative research to enable educational reform implementation in Vietnam

Capacity building through professional development and collaborative research to enable educational reform implementation in Vietnam

The central issue is that in 2012 the Vietnam government introduced a programe of ‘radical and comprehensive’ educational reform, affecting all primary and secondary schools. With little or no extra resources, and a traditional centralised system, the ‘renovations’ depend on changes to the curriculum and pedagogy, assessment, teacher and leader professional training and development, and some decentralization of functions to schools.  Hence, the premium is on capacity building in schools (and other parts of the system)  - new skills and knowledge need to be acquired by principals and teachers.

The reform agenda is driven by the Vietnam government’s desire to continue the system’s excellent PISA performance registered in 2012, but moving forward, to achieve greater equity in schooling outcomes across all ethnic and socio-economic groups, and in particular, to introduce a curriculum that develops active knowledge and skills to equip and prepare the future Vietnam labour force for the 21st century economy.

Two of the most crucial issues are how to introduce student-centred teaching methods while maintaining large class sizes; and how to promulgate more school-based autonomy with principals as pro-active managers and leaders when their traditional role has been to line-manage.

This Phase 1 study looked at the challenges and opportunities of these reforms, as perceived by school leaders and teachers. Its aim was to gather a better understanding of how the renovations were being seen from the school level, in order to subsequently design interventions to build school capacity to successfully implement the changes.

PI and Co-Pis - International Collaborators

PI – Professor Clive Dimmock

Co-PIs – Professor Chris Chapman, Professor Michele Schweisfurth, Professor Graham Donaldson

Prof. Phong, Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences

Assoc Prof. Long, Rector, University of Education, Vietnam National University, Hanoi.


Start and End Date

14 October 2015 -  30 June 2016


Funder and Funding Amount

British Council £14,980


Related Publications

1. Dimmock, C. (24 June 2016). The cautionary tale of Vietnam’s radical reform.

Times Educational Supplement. pp. 22-23.

2. Dimmock, C. (22 July 2016). The cautionary tale of Vietnam’s radical reform.

Times Educational Supplement - Scotland. pp.1-3.


Project News

A major international conference was held in Hanoi on 30 June 2016 to mark the end of Phase 1. Professors Clive Dimmock and Chris Chapman gave keynotes on the findings of the project to date, to delegates from across Vietnam, and the ASEAN region.

Report for Phase 1 currently being prepared and grant applications being prepared for future Phase 2 in 2017