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.


First year report
The original timeline for project implementation proved infeasible due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. International travel stopped and the baseline student survey could not be implemented as planned. Due to the time-line inherent in the academic year this meant that the project team had to re-schedule activities (i.e. delay by one year). However, the team-members associated with respectively the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA) in Vietnam and the Development Economics Research Group at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH-DERG) have worked closely together on a continuous basis on all of the tasks that could be pursued through virtual communication.

Regular meetings have been held (at least once each month) and status at the end of July 2021 is that the baseline is ready to be launched at the end of September/beginning October 2021. Hereafter statistical sampling and the training interventions (i.e. soft skills and career counselling), developed in close collaboration among the partners can be pursued. Should in-person contacts remain constrained due to the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent activities will move to an on-line format.

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