Education standards may be driving Silicon Valley out of the US

Patrick Holmes

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The American culture is immersed in the technological age, with new advances being made each day. Smartphones are now an aspect of people’s lives and the internet is an all-consuming endity.

However, other countries are advancing at a fast pace that could surpass the United States. Vietnam is a country on the verge of creating a mimicked “Silicon Valley,” according to BBC. The original Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area in California has been the main home to many large tech companies, such as Google and other small companies that are startups.

Vietnam is now trying to compete with the U.S.

Two American entrepreneurs are interested in creating a “Saigon Silicon Valley” since, according to BBC, “Vietnam in the past 20 years has been one of the fastest growing markets in the world.”

Eddie Thai and Binh Tran are the sources of the idea for a similar Silicon Valley in Vietnam. It will be located as far as a 15-minute drive outside the city of Ho Chi Minh.

Due to this new Silicon Valley and the possibility of its success, the Silicon Valley in the U.S. has the potential to be obsolete. In an interview with the Journal, Dr. Anurag Sharma gave some insight on what could happen. He taught a Sustainable Media course this past fall semester at Suffolk and has a Ph.D. in Physics from Binghamton University and has assisted at other universities such as Dartmouth College.

“I don’t think that the whole Silicon Valley will move there,” he said. “What I think they are talking about is developing a sort of similar infrastructure that got the Silicon Valley in the United States.”

Sharma went on to talk about the education system in Vietnam and how it differs from that of the U.S. In a culture that is ridden with technology, the U.S. does not directly focus on teaching students tech-based skills at a young age.

“Vietnam has programming. Their kids learn pascal [programming] and other programming in schools,” said Sharma. “What this means is that they’re tech ready.”

Unlike the U.S., Vietnam puts a heavy emphasis on the subjects of math and science. By doing this, Vietnam has advanced technologically in a very short time.

“Whatever expertise the population develops is based on how you educate them,” said Sharma, clueing in on why the Vietnamese are more tech based. But it doesn’t just have to do with education. The population in Vietnam is fairly young and so they are learning more of the technological skills needed to sustain these companies, unlike China who has an older population due to the former one-child policy, which contributed to the slight decrease in China’s economy, according to Sharma.

“All [Vietnam] had to do was change the policies so that it makes it very lucrative for the business to come in,” said Sharma, referring to how Vietnam is luring in companies like Google and Facebook.

However, Sharma doesn’t believe large tech companies will completely move their bases to Vietnam. He said it’s more likely that they will branch out and heighten their global presence to make them more money.

Furthermore, U.S. companies may think about looking into this new Silicon Valley to stretch their market since “the initial acceleration has slowed down,” according to Sharma. Expanding their operations to Vietnam opens opportunities for U.S. firms to boost their revenue.

“If you compare the size of Vietnam to the U.S., Vietnam is not that large,” said Sharma. “In fact, it is quite small and eventually the demand could saturate out and plans could be made for another Silicon Valley in a different country.”

They said there already are mainstream companies in the city of Ho Chi Minh, such as Samsung and Intel. Companies have shown that they can thrive in Vietnam; it’s only a matter of time before more businesses begin to branch out as well.