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Vietnam GES© Case Study

Vietnam: Kyna

Overview

Dream Viet Education (“Kyna”) is a leading provider of online education in Vietnam. Kyna is providing online programs for K-12 students and parents. Kyna’s mission is to leverage technology to bring better, fairer education access to all Vietnamese people, particularly women and children. Established in 2013 by Ms. Ho Hong Bao Tram, Kyna is a woman-led business in line with both the UN SDG 4- Quality Education  and 5 – Gender Equality.

Market Need

Research from the International Education Journal found that family income and parental education have a significant impact on the cognitive development of children and that children in rural areas suffer poorer learning outcomes. The report called for equity in the provision and quality of primary level education. Income disparities in Vietnam prevent access to early education for children in rural areas and smaller cities.

Despite demand from parents, many children, for either geographical or financial reasons, cannot access English learning at an early age. Children in kindergarten in Vietnam are usually not exposed to English learning unless their parents can afford tutoring, or they are international students who come from English-speaking households. Moreover, qualified English teachers are concentrated mostly in large cities, presenting a supply-side issue that hinders the country’s efforts to improve the English skills in younger generations. Per 2017 estimates, Vietnam has 4,600,000 children in kindergarten, with 80% living outside its two largest cities.

Business Model

Kyna provides English and Math courses to pre and primary school children as well as parenting courses to their families. With Kyna, children from different parts of the country can access high-quality, native content courses on demand at the cost of only US$5 per year.

Kyna also offers parenting courses, with 55+ trainers nationwide known as influential parenting experts, providing useful knowledge and skills for parents, especially mothers, to raise their children. The video course content include topics such as pregnancy, nutrition for babies, early education to parenting methods for children up to 18 years old.

Kyna’s SEAF Gender Equality Score ©

Key Facts

Women benefit most from Kyna as the company provides easy access to education, particularly tackling the time poverty challenges faced by working mothers. 

 

Kyna allows mothers to not only oversee their children’s education interactively but also access resources for their own learning and development. 

Current Activities

  • Position Analysis: Kyna is well-positioned as an online education company as e-learning becomes the norm and as internet/mobile penetration continues to expand, particularly in rural areas. Kyna for Kids has seen sales increase, driven by a surge in online learning in February when parents were trying to find alternative education methods for children given school closures caused by COVID-19.
  • Parenting Courses: Kyna is partnering with more experts in the parenting field to deepen the current content as well as explore new areas of interest. Additionally, Kyna is launching free Q&A sessions for parents to improve interaction and engagement and is also developing a mobile application for parent use.
  • English Tutoring: The Kyna English program is immersive and based on internationally-recognized frameworks. Kyna for Kids is expanding the current 1-on-1 to include a 1-to-5 tutoring model to capture a broader market demand. It is also developing new curriculum for older children, up to 16 years old, in addition to developing and launching a Kyna English mobile application.
  • Proprietary content: Kyna is focusing on internally-developed courses rather than relying on third-party content to enhance its competitive advantage as well as boost its margin. Its first internally developed courses, Finger Math and Soroban, were well-received by the market
  • Regional Expansion: The company has recently established footprints in Thailand and Indonesia by partnering with local players (through revenue sharing models) to promote the self-paced English learning courses of the Kyna English program. This regional growth strategy will expand to include online English tutoring services

Vietnam’s Gender Demographics

  • Vietnam has a young population with 20 million K-12 students and approximately 38 million people aged 18-45 out of a total population of 97 million. 94.5% of the population are literate with a high women literacy rate present of 92.8%
  • There are 13.9 million Vietnamese students in kindergarten and primary school, and  47% of children under 14 are girls
  • About 87.7% of Vietnamese women are in the labor force with the ratio continuing to trend upwards. As a result mothers are increasingly participating in the working population
  • According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2018, Vietnam ranked 77th out of 149 countries in terms of progress towards gender parity. The report found that Vietnam was 0.972 above the global average between equality and inequality in education attainment

Women Economic Empowerment Highlights

Pay Equity

  • The SEAF team is working with Kyna on establishing employee surveys or benchmarking studies, institutionalizing best practices and further improving pay equity

Benefits & Professional Development

  • Kyna follows government regulations and guidelines on providing benefits for employees including social security and health insurance, paid-leave and time-off for emergencies
  • As per the company’s policy, the chief officers of departments are able to work from home one day a month to refresh and handle family matters. During the COVID-19 crisis, these employees were also allowed to work from home three days a week
  • Kyna provides training to newly recruited employees online and in-house

Workforce Participation

  • The chief academic officer and all employees in content development & curriculum departments are women.Given that many are mothers, they have the context to thoughtfully address the needs of Vietnamese parents and children
  • All of the telesales employees are also women as women who have strong attributes in communication and relationship building

Workplace Environment

  • Kyna follows AGILE, a working method applied in technology companies to optimize the working time in a day. The company has replaced weekly meetings with project-based meetings and avoids reporting as much as possible to save time and allow for personnel in charge to focus on deliverables. All reports now are able to be updated in real time by tracking software
  • Kyna also encourages open discussion between hierarchies and departments

Leadership & Governance

  • Ms. Tram, the founder/CEO, has continually supported Teach For Vietnam. The not-for-profit organization is dedicated to building bridges between cultures and improving English language instruction for children in rural areas of Vietnam, through free English learning videos for kids and donations of laptops to children in poor provinces
  • Along with the founder, Kyna’s senior management includes women in the position of chief academic officer and chief marketing officer

Women Powered Value Chains

  • 58% customer of Kyna are women.
  • 58% of content partners and 53% of online tutors are women
  • 78% of all employees are women
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