Early Childhood Education and Care in Vietnam: From Confucianism to 21st Century Reforms in Curriculum and Training

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Vietnam is transiting from a traditional teacher-centred curriculum to a child-centred approach. Over the past three decades, four changes to the ECEC curriculum have supported the transition: the 1990 Old Curriculum, the 1994 reformed curriculum, the 2009 Sprout Curriculum and the latest 2021 Sprout Curriculum. The reforms introduced a gradual pedagogical and philosophical shift and challenged the embedded Confucian values in ECEC teachers’ thinking and practice. The process of adopting the new ECEC approaches to teaching has been slow and challenging. The revised ECEC approach has presented new demands on ECEC teacher education and revealed integral problems in ECEC teacher education such as (i) top-down management, (ii) the out-dated, unbalanced, theory-oriented curriculums and (iii) a one-way teacher-centred transmissive pedagogy. Transformation of ECEC is part of a broader fundamental reform across the entire education system in Vietnam initiated in 2013. The reforms involve many institutions; for example, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) approved autonomy for Universities in pre-service teacher preparation. Furthermore, the implementing of a credit system (Ministry of Education and Training, 2014) showed commitment to modernise and regularise training. The move to regularise and internationalise qualifications was enriched in 2016 when the first Vietnam National Qualification Framework was issued (Vietnamese Prime Minister, 2016). MoET mandated continuous professional training to support existing teachers to meet the requirements of the new ECEC curriculum. Reforms in ECEC teacher education are underway as part of a Seven-year vision (2018–2025). Two linked projects Developing the ECEC sector in 2018–2025 (Vietnam Prime Minister, 2018) and Training ECEC teachers and management staff in the ECEC sector 2018–2025 (Vietnam Prime Minister, 2019) were established to support the implementation of ECEC reform. One example is the mandated increase in qualifications for ECEC teachers from a two-year Diploma to a three-year Diploma in the new Education Law (Vietnamese Congress, 2019). Vietnamese teacher-registration process is quite different than in other countries, rather than having a teacher-registration board, there is a complex registration system in keeping with communist principles. At the district level, the Bureau of Education and Training and the Bureau of Home Affairs offer newly qualified teachers an exam. The exam outcome decides if the teacher is employable by the state or not. The need to increase the supply of suitably qualified ECEC teachers is a pressing matter due to shortages in qualified teachers to implement the 2009 Sprout Curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational perspectives on Early Childhood Teacher Education in the 21st Century
EditorsWendy Boyd, Susanne Garvis
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd
ISBN (Print)9789811657382
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2021


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