Recent years have seen a growth in the number of its private schools in Vietnam. This is partly due to the demands of the country’s growing expat population. There are a number of prestigious international schools in Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, and these offer top-quality education to both expats and wealthy Vietnamese families. 

Despite its status as a developing country, Vietnam has a good standard of public education and a literacy rate of over 90 percent.

Outside the country’s main urban centres there are schools that are under-resourced and poorly staffed. However, in the cities, many expats choose to enrol their children at a good public school to save on the extremely high costs of international school fees.


Public schools in Vietnam

Expat students may find the teaching methods employed at Vietnam’s public schools to be quite alien: students are expected to study quietly and passively, which contradicts the more innovative learning methods and active class discussions encouraged in Western culture.

There are, however, a small number of schools in Ho Chi Minh City which are making a break from traditional Vietnamese style methods and offering American-style learning. These more modern public schools tend to have extremely long waiting lists.

Vietnamese students are often put under enormous amounts of pressure to perform well academically, by both their families and teachers. Most children have extra private tuition after school.

There are five levels of schooling within the Vietnamese public school system:

  • Pre-school : Three to six years old
  • Primary school : Six to 11 years old
  • Secondary school : 11 to 15 years old
  • High school: 15 to 18 years old
  • Tertiary education: 18 years old and upwards


International schools in Vietnam

International schools in Vietnam are a relatively modern phenomenon – the oldest international school in the country was established less than 30 years ago – but over the past few decades many new international schools have emerged to fill a gap in the market and cater for the country’s rapidly growing expat population.
The top international schools tend to employ native English speakers or those who have trained in the country that the particular school is affiliated with.
The most popular international schools in Vietnam tend to be over-subscribed and there are long waiting lists, so it's best to make applications as soon as possible.



Applying for international schools in Vietnam


Most international schools in Vietnam accept applications throughout the school year, but it's worth bearing in mind that some of the more popular schools fill up fast. Thus, it is best to apply ahead of time.
Some international schools in Vietnam have entrance exams that test potential students for proficiency in English and Maths. In many cases, international schools will request an interview with both the parents and the student before a formal offer is made.
The required paperwork for an international school application will depend on each school, but these are some of the documents that expat parents should have prepared:

  • -   A copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • -   Copies of the passports of the child's parents
  • -   Latest school results (including official transcripts, report cards and/or standardised test results). Some schools request reports for as many as three previous years.
  • -   A copy of the child's study permit (or proof of application)
  • -   Medical records, including vaccination certificates
  • -   A copy of at least one parent's work permit, permanent resident visa, dependency visa, etc.
  • -   A completed copy of the particular school's application for admission form, which may include a writing sample.

International schools may ask parents to pay fees in advance or provide a non-refundable admission fee for each child. Fees vary for different schools and increase with the age of the child. In Grade 1, fees can reach up to VND 300 million while, in Grade 12, fees peak at around VND 500 million. Fees are even higher for students that board.

There are also addition non-refundable admission fees of around VND 3 million to consider.

Most private schools in Vietnam provide students with bus transport and cafeteria lunches, but these are additional costs.

Expat parents also need to make allowances for school uniforms, extra-curricular activities, school trips and stationary.  

A significant number of expats choose to call Vietnam home. Both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have a large amount of quality private and international schools to cater for the country's growing expat population.

Here is a list of the most popular international schools in Ho Chi Minh City. Expats are advised to begin the application process as soon as possible to ensure that their child is able to secure a place at their chosen school. Many of these international schools are oversubscribed and operate long waiting lists.

International schools in Ho Chi Minh City


The American School of Vietnam

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 5 to 18
Curriculum: American

TAS provides a world class American-based curriculum that promotes high standards of academic excellence by enhancing student learning for leadership in a global world. At TAS, over 20 nationalities are represented in the faculty and student body. Read more


Australian International School Vietnam

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 18
Curriculum: Australian, IB
AIS provides a balanced international curriculum and has well-resourced campuses for students of more than 30 nationalities. AIS is currently an IB candidate school. Read more

British International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 18
Curriculum: British, IB
BIS is a top-tier English-curriculum school offering a brand of education on par with the best international and British schools around the world. Read more

European International School Ho Chi Minh City

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 18
Curriculum: IB
The European International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) focuses on academic excellence, multiculturalism and treating each child as an individual. Read more


International School of Ho Chi Minh City

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 19
Curriculum: IB World
ISHCMC, the most established international school in the city, providing a broad-based international education for approximately 950 students of 49 different nationalities. Read more

International School Saigon Pearl

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 11
Curriculum: American
ISSP is an independent elementary day school that is located in the Saigon Pearl residential and commercial development. Read more

ISHCMC American Academy

Ages: 11 to 18
Curriculum: American
A purpose-built school with excellent facilities, associated with ISSP. Read more

KinderWorld Education Group

Ages: 2 to18
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Singapore iPSLE/ Cambridge IGCSE and International AS and A levels/ Global Assessment Certificate (GAC)
Established in 2000, KinderWorld has been providing education for students from Pre-Nursery to University Foundation Programme in 15 campuses throughout Vietnam. 

Saigon South International School

Ages: 5 to 18
Curriculum: American, IB
A top-tier, multi-cultural American school with excellent facilities. Read more

Saint Ange French International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 6 to 11
Curriculum: French
Saint Ange School is a private, secular and French international school. The school is authorised by Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities.

Saigon Star International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 1.5 to 11
Curriculum: Montessori, British
A pre-primary and primary school in District 2 which follows a combined Montessori and British curriculum. Read more


Nursery schools and kindergartens in Ho Chi Minh City


Montessori International School of Vietnam

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Montessori Curriculum
Ages: 18 months to 6 years
This school emphasises the development of the qualities and skills that will help children become happy, confident and responsible individuals, with an intrinsic motivation for life-long learning.


Modern Montessori International

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Full Montessori Curriculum
Ages: 18 months to 7 years
Modern Montessori International (MMI) London is a UK-based multinational education organisation that operates 100 pre-schools and teacher training colleges in 16 countries across three continents. MMI opened its first school in Vietnam in Binh Duong Province in January 2016.    

Saigon Kids Kindergarten

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Early Childhood Education
Ages: 18 months to 6 years
An English-language early childhood learning facility with approximately 100 students. The school encourages children to be active learners both socially and individually.