Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Educational attainment, Vietnam

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes

Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Educvn:public Editor {

    Educvn(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::vn1989a:
            if (VN1989A_0411() == 99 && VN1989A_0431() >= 5 && VN1989A_0431() < 999)
                a = 0;
        case dataset_id::vn1999a:
            if (VN1999A_0418() == 1) {
                if (a == 101)
                    a = 0;
                if (a == 102)
                    a = 101;
                if (a == 103)
                    a = 102;
                if (a == 104)
                    a = 103;
                if (a == 105)
                    a = 104;
                if (a == 106)
                    a = 105;
                if (a == 107)
                    a = 106;
                if (a == 108)
                    a = 107;
                if (a == 109)
                    a = 108;
                if (a == 110)
                    a = 109;
                if (a == 111)
                    a = 110;
                if (a == 112)
                    a = 111;
            if (VN1999A_0420() == 99 && VN1999A_0406() < 5)
                a = 999;
            if (VN1999A_0420() == 99 && VN1999A_0418() == 3)
                a = 0;
        case dataset_id::vn2009a:
            if (VN2009A_0409() == 9999 && VN2009A_0406() == 3)
                a = 0;
            if (VN2009A_0409() == 9999 && VN2009A_0407() == 0)
                a = 100;




This variable indicates the highest educational level in Vietnam that the person was attending or had completed at the time of the census.

Comparability — General

The education system of Vietnam is comprised of four levels: pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education. It generally follows a 5-4-3 or 5-4-5 pre-university system, with more variations at the upper secondary level. Compulsory basic education includes primary education and lower secondary levels and general education encompasses the upper secondary education.

  • Pre-school caters to children from age three months to six years and includes creches (3 months to 3 years) and kindergartens (3 to 6 years).
  • Primary education consists of five years (grades 1 through 5) with children enrolled at age 6 years.
  • Students who successfully complete their primary education enter four-year lower secondary education (grades 6 through 9) or can opt into short-term training.
  • Students who successfully complete lower secondary education have several options available. These include:
  • Upper secondary school (grades 10 through 12)
  • Professional upper secondary education ranging between 3 and 4 years for learners with lower secondary education and 1 to 2 years for those with upper secondary education.
  • Vocational upper secondary training undertaken between 1 and 3 years.
  • Both professional and upper secondary education can lead to higher education. Higher education includes colleges (2 to 3 years) and universities (4 to 6 years). Master education is conducted from 1 to 2 years for persons with university degrees. Doctoral education is conducted over 4 years for persons with university degree, 2 to 3 years for persons with master degrees or could be extended for longer than above.

The fundamental difference between college education and university education is the detail of professional knowledge and practical skill gained. College education aims at equipping students with the necessary level of professional knowledge and basic practical skills while university education aims at providing complete professional knowledge and fluent practical skills. There is also a difference in the qualifications awarded. Completion of college education is awarded a college diploma while university education is awarded a university degree. University degrees include bachelor and professional degrees and are conceptually different from master and doctorate degrees.

The variable is comparable across the samples; however, the 1989 data lacks information about higher education.

In 2009, some responses in the data do not strictly follow the educational system above. For example, some respondents with lower secondary education report a primary grade 5 and with upper secondary education report a lower secondary grade 9. In both cases, these are coded into their reported levels and grade less than the lowest for that level.

For upper secondary professional and vocational training and in higher education, the data includes persons who spent more than the standard duration of completion in these institutions.

In 2009, the census question included a new category for pre-school, which may or may not be comparable to "none" in previous samples.

For related information on the highest degree or certification obtained, see the educational source variables for Vietnam.

A harmonized international classification of educational attainment is available in EDATTAIN, which imposes a number of compromises to regularize the data across countries. In contrast, EDUCVN retains the full detail on educational attainment from the Vietnam samples.

The number of years of schooling completed is available separately in YRSCHOOL.


  • Persons age 5+


  • Vietnam: 1989, 1999, 2009