Impact of open admissions policies in Vietnam

Thao Xuan Tran, University of Pennsylvania


In 1987, one year after the Vietnamese government decided to change from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven economy, one of the reforms in higher education was the introduction of the student open admissions policy. My dissertation analyzes the history, implementation, and outcomes of this policy. Before the reform, high school graduates could only obtain a higher education if they passed a difficult college admission examination. The 1987 open admissions policy allowed colleges and universities to open this gate. Students who failed the admission exam, regardless of their performance, were able to enter colleges and universities if they were willing to pay for their education. For the first time in history, the number of university students increased dramatically, resulting also in a rapid expansion of faculty, particularly part-time faculty. Competition among institutions of higher education grew as universities scrambled for students and resources. These trends led to questions about the impact of the open admissions policy and, in particular, about its effect on the quality of higher education. In 1988 the government amended the original policy and then in 1993 essentially terminated it. Through an analysis of the historical literature, official documents, reports, and interviews, this dissertation discusses how Vietnam's open admissions policy was formulated and implemented, what happened, and why it is revised and terminated. As Vietnam seeks appropriate ways to renovate its higher education system in the context of the market economy, this research should be valuable to the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam, and, more broadly, to countries seeking to accommodate higher education to market economies.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration|Education history

Recommended Citation

Tran, Thao Xuan, "Impact of open admissions policies in Vietnam" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9840247.