Teaching short-term courses in Vietnam (Part 1)

1. Foreword 

Knowledge is one of every man’s greatest assets, especially in the modern world defined by rapid development, constant change and fierce competition. Young or old, rich or poor, white or blue collar, improving one’s knowledge and skills is an imperative to keep up with social advances as well as creating an edge in life and work. But modern life is busy, therefore an effective solution to gain new wisdom is to participate in short-term courses.  

Wanting to satisfy the enormous hunger for learning of many Vietnamese, many individuals and organizations sought Apolat Legal’s advice on how to legally teach short-term courses in accordance with Vietnam’s regulations. Therefore, this article serves to introduce and provide general insights into teaching short-term courses in Vietnam. 

2. Types of short-term courses in Vietnam 

There is no clear definition of “short-term course” under Vietnamese law. From many of our clients’ perspective, “short-term courses” mean courses that last from a few weeks to several months. Based on this understanding and cross-checking current regulations, short-term courses can be categorized into two types:  

2.1 Regular training 

Continuing training means a form of in-service training, correspondence training, or guided self-study training, which is in a flexible manner in terms of programs, duration, methods, location to meet students’ needs14. The purpose of regular training is to provide learners with the capacity to practice a simple profession or to perform some tasks of a profession or practice capacity as required by the job position15. 

2.2 Elementary level training 

Elementary level training is a part of vocational training which is an education level of the national education system and has a level of 1 to 3 out of 8 levels of the Vietnamese Qualification Framework16. The goal of elementary level training is to equip students for abilities to perform simple tasks of a particular job17.  

2.3 Persons entitled to organize the teaching of regular training and elementary level training courses 

Only vocational education institutions including vocational education centers, intermediate level training schools and colleges as well as enterprises are entitled to host the teaching of regular training and elementary training level courses18. Beside such training forms, vocational education institutions are also permitted to provide the following types of training19:  

a. Vocational education centers are permitted to organize the teaching of general vocational training and career counseling for students according to compulsory education programs; 

 b. Intermediate level training schools are permitted to organize the teaching of intermediate level training courses; 

 c. Colleges are permitted to organize the teaching of college and intermediate level training courses.  

Therefore, the decision to either establish a vocational education institutions or an enterprise is dependent upon the Client’s operational objectives. If the Client wishes to also teach college level or intermediate level courses, an appropriate vocational education institution must be established. However, the procedures to establish such institutions are quite complicated20. If the Client only wishes to teach regular training and elementary level courses, the Client only needs to establish an enterprise to conduct the necessary steps to start operation.  

The enterprise established by the Client must possess the suitable education business lines. Regarding the teaching of regular training and elementary level training courses, there is no limitation towards foreign investors21. Therefore, all domestic and foreign individuals and organizations are able to participate in the teaching of short-term courses in Vietnam. 

3. Differences between regular training and elementary level training  

For every course that the Client wishes to teach, the Client may choose to teach it as either a regular training course or elementary level training courses. However, there exist many differences between these two forms, with a few notable differences as follows: 

3.1 Duration of the course 

For regular training, the course will have a duration of under 03 months (from opening to closing) and with actual learning time from 100 to 300 hours22. For elementary level training, the course duration is a minimum of 03 months and a maximum of 01 year but must ensure that there are at least 300 hours of actual learning time23. 

3.2 Level of the learner after graduation  

Elementary level training occupies the 03 lowest levels out of 08 levels of the Vietnamese Qualification Framework24. Meanwhile, the skill level of a regular training course is not recognized by law. It can be concluded that due to the level of elementary level training being particularly regulated in the law, the certificate and skill level of learners graduated from elementary level training courses are more valuable than those of regular training courses. 

3.3 Legal procedures 

The law regulates both training forms, but the dissimilarity in legal procedures the Client must perform to state authorities to begin teaching is very large between the two: 

For regular training, the Client does not need to apply for a permit before operation, but the Client is obligated to send a summary report on the results of teaching regular training courses for the first 06 months before June 30th and summary report on the results of teaching regular courses for the whole year before December 31st to the Department of Labor – War invalids and Social Affair and the authorities managing that course (if any) 25. In addition to this reporting obligation, the Client only needs to comply with and satisfy several conditions as prescribed by law before operation. 

For elementary level training, the Client must apply for the Vocational Education Activities Registration Certificate before any teaching.26 The Client must satisfy many demanding conditions regarding the programme and curriculum, teachers, facilities, etc to be granted this Certificate. 

4. Endword 

This article is the first in a series of articles aimed at giving an overview of the Vietnamese law regarding the teaching of short-term courses. In the following articles, Apolat Legal will explain more specifically about each type of training as well as the legal issues that Clients need to pay attention to when teaching these types of courses. 

See more: Teaching short-term courses in Vietnam (Part 2)


This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide any legal advice for any particular case. The legal provisions referenced in the content are in effect at the time of publication but may have expired at the time you read the content. We therefore advise that you always consult a professional consultant before applying any content.

For issues related to the content or intellectual property rights of the article, please email cs@apolatlegal.vn.

Apolat Legal is a law firm in Vietnam with experience and capacity to provide consulting services related to Legal Retainer and contact our team of lawyers in Vietnam via email info@apolatlegal.com.

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