Educational Research for Policy and Practice

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 223–239 | Cite as

Another textbook project? The implementation of Escuela Nueva in Vietnam

  • Hang M. LeEmail author
Original Article


This qualitative case study examines the implementation of Escuela Nueva, a rural multigrade schooling model, in Vietnam from the perspectives and experiences of local teachers and school administrators. Escuela Nueva first emerged in Colombia in the 1970s as a scalable low-cost educational innovation model that can be disseminated to other under-resourced regions around the world. Indeed, to date, the model has travelled to fourteen countries around the world, impacting the lives of over five million children. On the surface, the implementation of Vietnam Escuela Nueva (VNEN) appears to be a close reproduction of the original model. However, some aspects of VNEN in practice in fact directly contradict the principles and philosophies of the original model. Rather than encouraging more teacher autonomy, child-centered pedagogies, and local adaptation, the implementation of VNEN has reproduced the rigidity, conformity and textbook dependency that have been core features of the traditional Vietnamese education system. This points to the difficulties that can arise when attempts at scaling up educational change across borders come into conflict with local systems of reasoning, which impede the achievement of the intended outcomes.


Escuela Nueva Vietnam Folk pedagogy Education reform Policy transfer 



I would like to thank the constructive comments provided by Roseann Liu, Shervin Malekzadeh, and the editors and reviewers of this special issue to support this paper through its various iterations. This project was partially funded by Swarthmore College, PA, USA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Education PolicyUniversity of Maryland – College ParkSilver SpringUSA

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