By: Trieu Van Viet - VNP 19
Supervisor: Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung
Over the past several decades, numerous studies have documented the association between early childhood education attendance and children’s cognitive abilities. This thesis aims to examine whether the positive relationship between preschool attendance and cognitive skills found in previous studies holds in Vietnam. The thesis used the first two rounds of longitudinal data from the Young Lives study in Vietnam. The sample is a “younger cohort” of approximately 2000 children who were born in 2001 to 2002. Ordinary least squares (OLS) and instrument variables (IV) estimation methods were applied to examine the link between preschool attendance and child cognition of 5-years-old (measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) and the Cognitive Development Assessment test (CDA)). In line with the literature, a positive and statistically significant relationship between preschool attendance and cognitive attainments was found for 5-years-old children in Vietnam. The IV estimation produces a higher coefficient on preschool attendance than the OLS, which implies that a downward bias of OLS model. In addition, children living in urban areas, children whose father and caregiver had higher education levels, ethnic Kinh children, and children from wealthier families scored higher on cognitive tests. Hence, government should invest more in early childhood development, particularly for rural, poor and ethnic minority children to enhance their cognitive ability before entering primary education.