Foreign-invested schools can enroll Vietnamese students, but the number shall not exceed 10% for elementary and junior high schools while the percentage is 20% for senior high schools, according to the latest regulations.
Decree 73/2012/ND-CP issued by the Government on September 26, which will come into force on November 15, is said to be more open as it allows foreign investors to provide primary and secondary education to Vietnamese students which was banned before.
Under a commitment to the World Trade Organization, Vietnam enables development of wholly foreign-invested facilities giving higher education in natural sciences, technology, business administration, economics, accountancy, international law and linguistics. The country also sets certain requirements for curricula and teaching staff.
However, the country does not want to let foreign investors provide primary and secondary education to the Vietnamese masses.
Prior to the release of Decree 73, foreign investors were allowed to develop nursery, primary and secondary education facilities, but they could only admit foreigners living in Vietnam.
The country also permits foreign-invested high schools under the form of joint ventures on a trial basis in Hanoi and HCMC to serve both foreigners and Vietnamese.
With the introduction of Decree 73, Vietnam has opened the door for foreign investors to invest in primary and secondary education. However, the country imposes stringent requirements for the student number, school size, and investment capital.
In particular, investors in nursery school projects must invest VND30 million per student, exclusive of land use fees. As for secondary education, the compulsory expenditure is VND50 million a student, and total investment capital must be at least VND50 billion.
Meanwhile, investors in short-term training centers, vocational schools and professional education facilities must spend a respective VND20 million, VND60 million and VND100 million on each student.
The capital requirement for university and college projects is quite high, VND150 million per student and total investment capital of at least VND300 billion.
Regarding school size, the decree lays down the highest requirement on investors in higher education projects. Specifically, schools must provide a space of 25 square meters for each student.
Those already granted investment certificates and business licenses will have six months since the effective date of the decree to supplement their application documents for establishment licenses.
As of September 20, 158 foreign-invested education projects were still valid in Vietnam, with total pledged capital of US$432 million, said the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Some typical foreign-invested schools in Vietnam are RMIT, Saigon South International School, Kinder World, and Alexandre Yersin.
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