In the mid-1970s, literacy in the south was estimated at about 65%, while in the north a rate of 85% was claimed in 1975. By the year 2000, adult illiteracy rates for the reunified country were estimated at 6.7% (males, 4.3%; females, 9.0%). After 1975, the educational system in the south was restructured to conform to the Socialist guidelines that had been used in the DRV. The 12-year school cycle was reduced to 10 years, and the more than 20,000 teachers in the south were among those subjected to "reeducation." By 1976, some 1,400 tons of textbooks printed in the DRV had been shipped to the south, and the books used previously under the RVN were destroyed. In addition, more than 1,000 formerly private schools in the south were brought under state control. Today, education is free at all levels, and five years of primary education is compulsory. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.8% of GDP.
In the mid-1980s, the educational system was rapidly expanding to cope with the nation's rising population. In 1998, primary schools had 324,431 teachers and 10,431,337 students, with a student-to-teacher ratio of 32 to one. In the same year, secondary schools had 226,491 teachers and 6,642,350 students. As of 1999, 96% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 61% of those eligible attended secondary school. There are 90 colleges and three universities in the SRV. The major university is in Hanoi. In 1997, universities and equivalent institutions had 23,522 teachers and enrolled 509,300 students.