Teachers remain silent on education issues
  • | | June 22, 2011 05:44 PM

While the public are deeply concerned about education, teachers often seem reticent to express an opinion on education policies.

A teacher at Tran Hung Dao High School talking to her students

This unwillingness to engage in discussions has it is claimed, deterred the sector’s development.


DTiNews recently organised an interview with principal of a nursery school in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District about the impact of recent price hikes on preschool children’s meals. After being warmly greeted the Dantri reporter was informed that the principal was not available, and when questioned the deputy principal claimed she was only a teaching assistant and not directly involved in teaching.

When the reporter asked to take some photos of the children during their meal, the deputy principal said it wouldn’t be possible, suggesting the reporter wait until the principal returned.

“I’m just a teaching assistant, I don’t know anything,” she said.

On another occasion DTiNews contacted the N.T.H Primary School to cover their English teaching. At first she was welcomed by the school guard as he thought she was an education inspector. However, when realising she was a journalist the guard refused her admittance.

Finally, the reporter was informed that the principal was busy and would not have time to meet.

“If I’d let you in, I would have been seriously punished,” the guard admitted.

Afraid of taking responsibility

Many teachers opt to keep silent when asked about education issues for fear that they may be held directly responsible for their comments. Many of them do not want to reveal their names, titles and positions in interviews.

During seminars and meetings on educational issues, few people are willing to ask questions or give direct opinions. Yet it is clear that many teachers have differing views on various education policies, but instead only discuss them in informal groups.

Teachers are unhappy with some of the new education policies, and often complain, but are almost completely silent at official seminars.

When asked about the new requirements for a principal, an associate professor and principal refused to comment, saying, “I don’t want to talk about this issue. It’s not easy for me to talk about the requirements for a position that I’m holding.” But was heard saying to his colleagues that “few of the current principles meet the new requirements”.

Instead, teachers can be founded engaged in whispering campaigns like school children in the playground when unhappy with poor school management decisions.

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