World Bank Country Director for Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa has underlined the need for Vietnam to focus on making its workforce more productive to meet new demands in the transition towards a modern, industrial market economy.

Victoria kwakwa made the statement at the November 29 launching ceremony of the WB’s Vietnam Development Report 2014 titled “Skilling up Vietnam : Preparing the workforce for a modern market economy”.

She also lauded education’s important role in making Vietnam a development success story over the last twenty years.

“Literacy and numeracy among Vietnam ’s adult workforce is widespread and more so than in other countries, including wealthier ones, but a more skilled workforce will be key to Vietnam 's successful economic transition,” she said.

According to Christian Bodewig, the report’s lead author , with the majority of Vietnam’s adult workforce being able to read and write, the challenge now is to turn graduates from good readers into critical thinkers and problem-solvers who are well equipped to acquire technical skills in university, vocational training and throughout their working lives.

“Rather than planning and managing the education and training system centrally and top-down, the role of Government is to help to ensure a better information flow between employers, schools and universities and students, and to enhance capacity and set the right incentives by freeing up universities to partner more effectively with businesses,” he said.

Ultimately, preparing the workforce for an industrial economy is not just the government’s job. It requires a change in behavior by all actors in skills development – employers, schools and universities and students and their parents alike.

The report shows that Vietnam ’s education system has a strong track record in producing foundational reading literacy and numeracy skills, but faces greater challenges in producing the advanced skills that will be increasingly demanded in coming years.

It advances a three-step plan for a holistic skills strategy for Vietnam, including promoting school readiness through early childhood development, building the cognitive and behavioral foundation in general education and job-relevant technical skills through a more connected system between employers, students and universities, and vocational schools.-VNA