This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

Gareth Ward

Gareth Ward

British Ambassador to Vietnam

Part of UK in Vietnam

5th September 2018 Hanoi

UK education has something for everyone

I’ve only been Ambassador here in Vietnam for a month, but that’s long enough to pick up on the importance of education. As a society with a Confucian history, I can see that study is valued highly, even if things have changed a lot in the millenium since Hanoi’s Temple of Literature first tested scholars against the ideal virtues of imperial service. Now the population of Vietnam is young – with over 40% under the age of 25, and looking to succeed in a dynamic economy driven by foreign investment. 

British education is in particularly high demand. 10 years ago in Hanoi there were only 40 English language schools, and now there are 400. In addition to 8,000 Vietnamese students in the UK, there are now are over 50 joint UK/Vietnamese degree programmes here for those who want to access UK education without travel. There are even state secondary schools teaching A-levels. The British Council is at the forefront of this expansion, promoting University partnerships, administering over 40,000 exams last year and implementing a programme of policy co-operation to train over 2500 teachers.

That’s enough of the statistics – what do Vietnamese people really think about British education? I have already met many former Chevening scholars, in important Government and business roles, who look back at UK education as a platform for their success. I have met students from the British University here in Hanoi, who value the analytical skills that their UK teachers encourage. But they would say that wouldn’t they! 

We have also done market research amongst Vietnamese students considering study abroad. Their perceptions are that UK education is world-leading, with qualifications that are valued globally, and that academic standards are strict and elite. But they also think that other countries offer a more welcoming and friendly study environment. I’d like to change that perception – UK universities are not at all stuffy!  The ten most diverse Universities in the UK all have more than 150 nationalities making them more international than their equivalents in the US or Australia (according to the Hotcourses Diversity Index) and almost a third of all university academics are from outside the UK (reported by the BBC), giving the UK one of the most diverse academic environments in the world. There’s a lot more info here about the friendly study environment:

So as I get out and about and meet the young generation of Vietnamese, my message is that they are welcome to study in the UK. We can give them advice on Universities that match their needs, and how to navigate the visa application – UK Education has ‘something for everyone’.

About Gareth Ward

Gareth Ward joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1996. He has served in British Embassies in Russia and China. He took up his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador in…

Gareth Ward joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1996. He has served in British Embassies in Russia and China. He took up his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Hanoi in August 2018. Ambassador Ward is focused on promoting free trade and ensuring increased British exports to Vietnam; co-operating with Vietnam through the UN and other multilateral organisations to ensure global peace and security; and on supporting British tourists and businesspeople as they increasingly choose to visit Vietnam.