Developing countries face an urgent imperative to enhance the equity, quality and relevance of their education provision. Many international non-government organisations (ngos) involved in such countries seek to work collaboratively with government organisations and communities to establish infrastructure, ensure equity in provision, build teachers’ skills and raise participation rates. The views of children themselves are critical in ensuring that both educational policy and service provision are sensitive and responsive to their needs, and therefore more likely to work. This paper reports on a study which talked to rural vietnamese children about their learning, including what they liked and did not like about their schools, what helps them learn, their relationships and sense of wellbeing at school, and their perceptions of the value of learning for their futures. The research challenged some prevailing assumptions about children’s voice and agency in rural vietnamese society while pointing to the possibilities and benefits of viewing children as partners in education rather than simply as beneficiaries. 2014.