Socialization Policy and Access of the Rural Poor to Education in Vietnam

Tuan, Ta VanViet Anh, Duong ThiOpen Society FoundationsPERI Global2013

As part of solutions for the state’s fiscal crisis and strategy to improve the quality of public services, the government of Vietnam has adopted the socialization “xã hoˆ.i hóa” policy to mobilize resources from the entire society. Socialization means that all sectors of society would be expected to contribute to financing and delivery of social services and the responsibility for paying for social services is shifted on to households. This study aims to examine impacts of this policy on access of the rural poor to education service in Vietnam. Findings from the two studied provinces revealed that the socialization has not developed comprehensively among regional areas; service quality has not been ensured; and there are abuses in the collection of diverse informal fees from student’s families. Households bear a disproportionate proportion of the cost of education services, with negative impacts on poor and disadvantaged households that cannot afford these costs. Education costs are rising and represent a significant proportion of household expenditure. While intended to ensure sustainability of social service funding, the socialization policy has potentially led to the increasing commercialization of public social services. Thus, adjustments to the structure of state budget spending need to be made with greater focus and priority being given to the development of education in disadvantaged, ethnic minority areas, and to support for poor families and those who benefit from special policies.

Education FinancingVietnamOriginal researchPolicy & Analysis

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