Inclusive societies and development

Youth well-being policy review of Viet Nam: A 60 seconds guide



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What is the Youth Well-being Policy Review of Viet Nam? 

The Youth Well-being Policy Review of Viet Nam provides a full diagnosis on the situation of youth in Viet Nam. The analysis uses a multidimensional approach to look at various dimensions of well-being affecting youth.

The review includes:

  • An in-depth analysis of how youth are doing in employment, education, health and civic participation and some aspects of subjective well-being.
  • An inventory of youth policies and programmes and a description of the institutional framework for youth development.
  • An analysis on the effect of vocational training on rural youth employability, based on an original qualitative survey.
The review is part of the Youth Inclusion project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the OECD Development Centre

How's life for young Vietnamese?

Young Vietnamese are healthier and better educated than previous generations. Despite this progress, Vietnamese youth face multiple challenges.

Employment remains the biggest challenge. Skills mismatch affects close to half of working youth, with 43.5% in jobs that did not match their qualifi cations in 2014. Informality remains the norm for most young workers, with 75% having no social insurance of any kind, and nearly half of them engaged with unwritten contracts. Young Vietnamese may be better educated, but for many, career aspirations are left unmet.

Vocational education and training (VET) can help narrow the skills gaps. For long VET has had a bad reputation as a path towards low-skilled jobs, with little chance of career progress. This is slowly changing thanks in part to the State’s efforts to better communicate about the value of VET and improve access to VET in rural areas. VET graduates are having positive employment outcomes.

Viet Nam made great progress towards universal primary and lower secondary education. Yet, enrolment gaps in upper-secondary school persist, especially for ethnic minorities and in certain provinces. Among youth aged 25-29, only 31% had completed upper-secondary education or higher. This has signifi cant implications for youth employability.

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) remains a concern for adolescent girls and young women, who are vulnerable to early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. Adolescent (15-19) fertility rate is higher than in many other Asian countries and affects ethnic minorities, low educated, poor and rural young girls most. Social norms still discourage young women and men, and even married couples, from seeking SRH services or counselling.

Vietnamese youth have a high level of trust in public authorities. Youth participation takes place mostly in the form of volunteering in political or civic organisations. Participation in policy making is low and varies widely depending on socio-economic background, with the better educated youth more interested and engaged in politics and civic activities.


Did you know?


Among the tertiary educated, 92% want to get high-skilled jobs, but only 70% actually succeed. At the same time, 7.6% of young people aspire to get medium-skilled jobs, but in reality 30% end up in this job category.


Did you know...?


About 9% of young people (15-29) suffer from deprivation in multiple dimensions of well-being simultaneously. Younger youth (15-17) have overlapping deprivations in employment and education, while older youth (19-29) suffer from poor education and employment outcomes, but not necessarily at the same time.

The Youth-Multidimensional Deprivation Indicator (Y-MDI) measures the share of young people who are affected by multiple deprivations simultaneously. 


How to address those challenges?

The youth agenda in Viet Nam is gaining ground in policy debates: the enactment of the Youth Law in 2005 marked a major step towards fulfi lling the rights of young people, and the Vietnamese Youth Development Strategy 2011-2020 provides a multi-sectoral roadmap for youth well-being. However, structural and financial constraints remain big challenges.

  • Improving the prioritisation of projects and programmes can help allocate resources in a strategic manner.
  • Improved co-ordination between ministries and other state and non-state agencies responsible for youth will be necessary to build synergies and increase impact of on-going programmes.
  • A platform for exchange among key actors, including the private sector, could help understand labour market needs and adjust educational and vocational programmes.
  • Finally, efforts should be stepped up to collect youth-specific data, and regularly monitor progress in implementing the youth development strategy against realistic objectives.

What can the government do?

In terms of policies, a multi-sectoral approach is key to improving youth well-being:


  • Develop youth-friendly SRH services and train staff on SRH counselling, especially in rural areas.
  • Implement comprehensive SRH education in schools and communities to overcome negative social norms.
  • Promote campaigns for road safety.
  • Improve rehabilitation services for drug users and addicts, and raise more awareness.


  • Inform parents and students about the value of secondary education to prevent early dropout.
  • Encourage return to school for schoolage youth.
  • Remove financial barriers to education for poor households through conditional cash programmes that also monitor performance at school.
  • Train teachers in schools and in VET institutions to upgrade their skills, both on content and pedagogical methods.
  • Develop a comprehensive skills strategy embedded in a broader development strategy.
  • Promote VET early on in schools (primary and secondary) by providing evidence-based information about career options and development potentials.
  • Improve equipment, teaching quality and curriculum of VET institutions.


  • Expand education and VET opportunities to all youth, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • Establish certification schemes to recognise past experience for low-skilled workers, especially in the informal sector.
  • Promote the development of SMEs in the agriculture sector, especially downstream in the value chain.
  • Support on-the job training programmes and upgrade the skills of low-skilled workers.
  • Create better linkages between VET institutions and local enterprises to adjust training programmes.
  • Provide incentives to companies to train and recruit VET students and graduates.
  • Engage youth in local consultations through meetings, forums and surveys.
  • Promote volunteerism and NGO activities for youth in rural areas.
  • Incorporate civic activities and volunteering into the regular curriculum from primary school onward.
  • Use social media to create innovative participatory platforms and raise awareness of policy making processes.



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