Vietnam looks to education reform
  • | LD, | October 02, 2012 02:43 PM

A recent conference on education reform pointed out some major flaws in the current Vietnamese education system.


 Most students do not find curriculum useful

The conference, held on September 29, was attended by former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh and many education experts set out an array of opinions on the issue. Though the Ministry of Education and Training is co-operating with Central Committee for Propaganda and Education to build an overall education reform plan, they did not send a representative to the conference.

Professor Chu Hao, former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said Vietnamese education is not outdated, but heading in the wrong direction.

Weaknesses and shortcomings have led the years-long crisis to become more dire. Not only does the country lack a skilled workforce but its cultural and moral character is also being threatened. Students in secondary and especially high schools have heavy curricula, so that by the time they reach university many have lost interest in study, he said, adding that, many parents who have the means prefer to send their children abroad to study.

Professor Hoang Tuy, who has won both domestic and foreign awards in mathematics, said Vietnam should change attitudes towards education and completely reform the system.

Shortage of skilled teachers

Former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh showed her concerned for the low quality of education in Vietnam, commenting that a large number of teachers do not meet current teaching requirements. She added that she feared that the quality of teachers may decline, as university students are graduating with average scores and using outdated methods.

However, Binh said the biggest challenge is the teacher salary. "Low salaries mean that the most skilled people prefer to go into other, higher paying, positions instead of teaching." Many teachers have to take extra jobs as tutors to  make a living, which further drives down the quality of their lessons, Binh noted. This also lowers the societal status of teachers.

Some solutions were proposed at the conference, such as excluding teachers from the groups to receive lower administrative salary levels in the next salary reform and granting seniority allowances for teachers who retired from January 1, 1994 to May 1, 2011.

Better text books needed

As one of the first people to join the text book writing board of the Ministry of Education and Training, teacher Le Hai Chau said major adjustments are needed; unnecessary or impractical content must be removed.

Many experts agreed that Government should allow writers compete with each other and let the quality of the books produced determine which ones are used.

Professor Chu Hao proposed an education census in 2013 in order to build an education reform plan. "We also should not carry out any reform or any education bill until we have completed a thorough plan." he said.

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