Hanoi, Vietnam - For 18-year-old Cao Thi Phuong Huyen, getting accepted to college has taken her one step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher.
Now in her freshman year at Hung Vuong University in Phu Tho Pronvince in Vietnam, Huyen is majoring in teaching English as a second language.
But her dream would not have come true if she had dropped out of school some three years earlier, when school became unaffordable for Huyen and her family.
“After finishing secondary school, I didn’t pass the exam to enter public high school,” Huyen said. “I thought about getting a job, because I thought I couldn’t go to private school. It was partly because I felt discouraged, but primarily because we could not afford it.”
In Vietnam, about one million students finish secondary school every year. But public high schools can only accommodate 80 per cent of the number of students to continue their studies.
An estimated 200,000 students, who failed one single high school entry exam, have no other choice but to enroll in private schools. For students with economic difficulties, the high cost of tuition fees become a challenge.
But an education project, supported by the World Bank and implemented by the East Meets West Foundation, gave Huyen the opportunity to enter Vu The Lang, a private high school in her hometown.
Funded by the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid Program, the project helped students like Huyen, who contemplated dropping out of school, by providing them with financial aid to continue their studies in private schools.
From 2010 to 2013, the project has helped over 8,000 disadvantaged students in 12 of the poorest provinces in northern and central Vietnam to finish either upper secondary or professional secondary schools.