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Podcast of Young Lives Research: Education in Vietnam and India – huge differences in achievement

New research from the Young Lives research programme at the Department of International Development at Oxford University has discovered that, although there is massive importance accorded to education for children in developing countries in the Millennium Development Goals, much education provision around the world remains worryingly poor.

Despite having broadly the same GDP per capita, levels of educational achievement in Vietnam and India are poles apart.

In India, for example, 47% of ten year-olds are unable to add even two-digit numbers and 68% of grade three children in government schools can’t read a task designed for first-year pupils. And the top 10% of school students in India are at the age-appropriate level and the bottom 10% appear to learn nothing in school at all.

But Vietnam provides a notable counter example, and shows what is possible – about 19 out of every 20 ten year-olds can add four-digit numbers, 85% can subtract fractions and 81% are able to find X in a simple equation. Given that education is probably the single-most vital element, in the modern world, in terms of how we strengthen our economies, how we build sustainable economies and economies that can grow and sustain their populations, the mismatch between much of the current education that’s on offer and what we actually need for our future societies is a really grave problem. It’s a grave problem for children and their families, but it’s also a problem for society at large.

Amanda Barnes has interviewed Professor Jo Boyden, director of the Young Lives research programme for Pod Academy. In the podcast they look at the differences in attainment between pupils in Vietnam and India, explore some of the reasons and look at what might be done to improve the quality of education – listen to the podcast here.


Young Lives Website

Pod Academy is an independent, not-for-profit platform for free podcasts on academic research, it was set up by a group of academics, journalists and IT specialists and aims to inform public debate and uncover intriguing and challenging new ideas. - See more at:

Tags: Young Lives Project, podcast, Jo Boyden, education, interview
Published Sep. 11, 2013 3:48 PM