The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Vietnamese Government signed a loan agreement of US$71 million for the Secondary Education Sector Development Programme (SESPD) in Hanoi on December 22.
The programme aims to support secondary education reform to meet the changing needs of Vietnam’s labour market as it is becoming a middle income country.
Signatories were the State Bank of Vietnam’s Governor Nguyen Van Giau and ADB Country Director for Vietnam Ayumi Konishi.
ADB will contribute US$60 million to the programme, including a policy-based loan of US$20 million with a term of 24 years and a project loan of US$40 million with a term of 32 years. Both loans have a grace period of eight years at an interest rate of 1 percent per year and 1.5 percent for the rest of the term.
Enrolment at secondary schools has grown sharply in recent years, reaching over 90 percent at the lower level. However, there have been widespread inconsistencies in the quality of education across the country, as well as persistent inequalities in access.
The programme will help address these concerns by updating Vietnam’s Secondary Education Sector Master Plan, developing new national standards for secondary schools, upgrading the curriculum, improving the quality of secondary teachers, establishing a national accreditation board and new learning assessment system, and expanding continuing education.
According to Mr. Konishi, as Vietnam's economy is developing rapidly, enhancing the quality of the labour force is a critical prerequisite for sustained economic growth.