One of the concerns in improving the quality of minority education in multicultural nations is how to choose the appropriate types of learning for different ethnic groups, especially when such decision can be constrained their cultural diversity. This paper aims to analyze the effect of cultural differences on selecting types of learning for ethnic minorities; thus, recommending some ethic-specific policies to better utilize the manpower resources in the northwest region of vietnam. Questionnaires were employed to survey 250 people from 6 ethnic minority groups, whose population is over one million locating in three provinces in the northwest border region of vietnam. The study also conducted 20 in-depth interviews with management teams of different educational institutions and corporations. The results show that ethnic-cultural factors including gender, customs, ethnic relations, and marriage age have determined the choice of learning types in higher education levels. From those points, this paper suggests development interventions so that ethnic-cultural factors do not reduce the ability to pursue higher education, increase the unemployment rate of ethic minorities, and cause waste in finance, resources, infrastructure for training in the northwest region of vietnam. 2020, 2020 The author(s). This open access article is distributed under a creative commons attribution (cc-by) 4.0 License.