Being one of the most sought-after investment destinations, Vietnam is equally popular for growing opportunities in the education sector. In the last few decades, education has become an issue of priority and the government has reserved about 15% of its budget for it. In the period between 2013 and 2019, the number of Vietnamese students studying abroad has increased by 69%, pointing to the growing and ambitious middle class that is ready to invest, especially in the private education sector. As per a report by Opengovasia, Vietnam’s e-learning market is expected to generate revenues of approximately USD 3 billion by 2023 apart from recording a compound annual growth rate of about 20.2% from 2019-2023.
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Government making E-learning a priority in Vietnam
The pandemic was challenging for both students and teachers but it has also brought about a range of opportunities for innovation and digitalization of the education sector as well as development of the EdTech market in Vietnam.
As per the Government’s national digital transformation program from 2025 with orientation to 2030, education is one of the eight priority sectors. Development of online learning platforms and policies to encourage investment in education is crucial for digital transformation.
In 2021, the Prime Minister issued Decision No.1373/QD-TTg, giving approval to the project “Building a society of learning in the 2021-2030 period” which aims for:
- 70% of universities will be digitized and build digital learning materials by 2025;
- 70% of community learning centers will apply information technology in management & organization of educational activities.
Of late, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has also signed a five-year program on digital transformation of vocational training, which is aimed at rolling out activities in the digital environment and strengthening the application of information technology, thus improving Vietnam’s human resources quality and labor productivity.
The rise in demand for online learning has also bolstered Vietnam’s education technology market. According to a media report, the country’s EdTech market is worth USD 3 billion as of 2021, up from about USD 2 billion in 2019. Today, Vietnam is host to 200 EdTech startups and is also among the top five countries receiving foreign investments in educational technology. With the help of Government’s policies and initiatives for both EdTech and startups, it is inevitable that the EdTech market in Vietnam will prosper in the coming years.
Vietnam’s e-learning market is expected to generate revenues of approximately USD 3 billion by 2023 apart from recording a compound annual growth rate of about 20.2% from 2019-2023.Opengovasia
A focus on the Digital Economy for the future
In 2022, the National Committee on Digital Transformation plans to have 85% of the population possess a smartphone and 75% of all households have an internet connection, according to OpenGovAsia. Moreover, it also outlines goals for e-government, digital economy, digital infrastructure, and society.
As per a press release, the goal for this year is to encourage digitization and access to information & education as shown in the following table:
|Types of Services/Documents
|Expected Increase in the Rate of Digitisation
|Online public services (including education)
|Dossiers and Results of administrative procedures
|Reports by state administrative agencies
|Full open data by state agencies
As far as the development of the digital economy is concerned, the government aims to improve:
- the rate of enterprises to use 100% e-invoices
- the rate of enterprises to use 50% e-contracts
- the percentage of small and medium-sized enterprises using digital platforms by 30%
- in the total retail sales, the share of e-commerce revenue to reach 7%
- the proportion of people aged 15 or above with current accounts at banks or other organizations sanctioned by the authorities to reach 65-70%.
This will have an improved effect on Vietnam’s Education infrastructure and ease of investment in this sector. According to this plan, there are 18 tasks allocated to the committee’s members, starting from promoting the use of smartphones, and electronic identities to employing broadband fiber optic cables. It also aims to improve the following
- develop electronic health records
- support online teaching
- network information safety and security
- digitally transform small and medium-sized enterprises
The government is also planning to encourage cashless payment methods whole-heartedly, boosting digital commerce and e-commerce. The plan further aims to develop a national database on civil servants, public employees and cadres. Subsequently, it envisions for the total amount of online payments of coaching and healthcare expenses to reach at least 50% by the end of this year.
Vietnamese families spend on Education
Almost USD 4 billion is spent by Vietnamese families on overseas education every year. In a report released by HSBC, it is observed that Vietnamese parents prioritize their children’s education and 47% of the total household expenditure is allocated towards it.
Related Reading: How to Start an Education Business in Vietnam
As per a report by the education ministry, every year there are many parents who consider sending their children abroad for higher studies. Moreover, the report also emphasized that substandard quality tertiary education resulted in the rise of unemployment among the educated population. Until the previous year, the number of people with degrees but no jobs was almost 200,000 i.e. 3 to 4% of the total college-going population, were unemployed. To name a few countries that have observed a rise in the population of Vietnamese students enrolled in their universities are the U.K., Japan, Australia, the US, and China. As an emerging economy, the country has an evolving need for high-quality labor, and investing in education is imperative for building a pool of skilled resources.
Startup Landscape – Top e-learning startups in Vietnam
Since 2015, the digital economy of Vietnam has undergone massive development at the rate of 39%, and currently, with over 68 million Vietnamese internet users, it is the second fastest-growing economy in Asia. With the onset of the pandemic, teachers and students alike, resorted to various online platforms. E-learning startups in SEA mushroomed in every corner. According to the Techcollective, here are the top five edtech startups of Vietnam that have benefited from this move to remote education:
Incepted in 2020, Clevai is the result of a joint venture between Tran Manh Thang (CEO) and his partners from Harvard, Oxford, and Google. It is an e-learning platform that offers mathematics courses for school students from kindergarten to 12th grade. With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the students can easily solve exercises. Not only that, but the system also maps each student’s learning curve and provides appropriate training resources, personalized pathways, and well-timed feedback to optimize progress. The startup raised USD 650,000 in 2020 and the very next year it raised an additional USD 2.1 million in a funding round led by Altara Ventures.
An edtech startup, CoderSchool provides courses on machine learning, web development, and data science that helps students in getting employed. Since its inception in 2015, CoderSchool has enrolled over 2,000 students, observing a growth of 100% every quarter. More than 80% of its full-time users are at prominent digital companies like Microsoft, Tiki, and Shopee, amongst others, within six months from graduation. It was able to raise USD 2.6 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures in 2021.
Founded by Pham Duc and Tran Viet Tung, Marathon was launched in 2021 to make after-school learning more accessible in Vietnam. The founders realized that necessary educational activities were not at par with technological advances, so they designed Marathon as a solution. In the future, all the subjects will be covered by the company with the creation of lessons as per the National Curriculum. Various angel investors, such as Singapore’s Forge Ventures, have invested almost USD 1.5 million in Marathon.
The edtech startup Edupia, was conceived in 2018 with a vision to offer English instruction online as per international standards. It aims to leverage technological developments to deliver English lessons of high standard at a reasonable cost. Its English teaching program uses modern methods applied at many international schools across the world. In 2021, Edupia raised USD 2 million from Redefine Capital Fund.
Since its inception in 2018, Virtual Internships has collaborated with various educational institutions to help students and employees advance in their careers. This is done by offering mentor training, advanced courses, and providing remote work positions. This edtech startup aims to reinvent career counseling by removing hurdles to hiring through virtual platforms. From application to accepting candidates, this company handles the entire process using its online platform. It employs the latest technology and excellent practices for work done remotely. It has shown exponential growth in the pandemic as the number of internships rose to 1,700 in 2020. This increase in number helped the company raise USD 2.5 million in July 2021, in an investment drive led by Sequoia Capital.
Although there are many businesses that did not survive the pandemic, Southeast Asian edtech ventures boomed during this time drawing investors from around the world as people embrace online learning. The Vietnam-based edtech startups have emerged as leaders for many others in the region, according to a report by the Techcollective. This industry still has plenty of room to grow as Vietnam becomes more and more digitalized, foreign investment being a key driver to the future growth of the industry.