Enhancing Effectiveness of Vocational Education – EEVE

Project summary

This project aims to improve the performance of vocational colleges in Vietnam. Through pilot surveys in Hanoi, we identified two key challenges. First, students graduate without the skills demanded in the labour market. Second, there is mismatch between students and available jobs/employers, which leads to low rates of employment and job retention. We propose a randomized control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of two interventions that can address these problems and improve students’ labour market outcomes. The first intervention is a soft skills training programme that aims to increase the stock of students’ soft skills that are widely demanded in the labour market. The second considers career-counselling services with the goal of increasing information flows and helping students find better-suited jobs.

This project adds a research dimension to the SSC TVET DK-VN phase II (2019-22) and links closely to UN SDG Goals 4 and 8. The project is a partnership between the Development Economics Research Group (DERG) at the University of Copenhagen and the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA) at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in Vietnam.

The project has three work packages: (i) generating novel datasets on vocational students and colleges; (ii) producing academic papers identifying the effects of soft skills training and career-counselling in the short- and longer-term; (iii) strengthening research capacity and dissemination. The overall aim is to improve labour market outcomes for vocational college students. As the interventions are designed in collaboration with ILSSA, our findings will have direct policy relevance and the interventions can be scaled-up. Capacity building will include training workshops and research visits. Dissemination will include policy briefs, workshops for policymakers and stakeholders, and blogs/columns in international media.


Midterm report
The project was successfully launched in Q2/2020. Due to Covid-19, the data collection was delayed by one year such that the baseline survey could only start in Q4/2021. In addition, a number of project activities were transitioned to an online format and virtual communication became essential. Based on an employer survey that identified important/missing soft skills among college graduates, soft skills and career counselling interventions were carefully designed and implemented in an online format by two leading Vietnamese service providers (Novaedu and Manpower). A phone-based mid-line survey was conducted in Q3-Q4/2022 and the end-line survey (using a combination of phone-based and online surveys) is currently underway with an estimate completion date of end-August 2023.

Throughout the project, despite much communication being through virtual means, there has been close collaboration and engagement between UCPH-DERG and ILSSA in the development of study design and survey instruments, their implementation (including piloting), and joint discussion and presentation of project progress.

Further, the research and survey capacity of ILSSA has been enhanced by way of training workshops and adapting to undertaking phone and online surveys. This will have long-term impact both in the area of vocational education and in other areas where ILSSA will engage in future relying on the methodologies in reference.

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