>> Ambitious education reform plan raises concerns
On the weekly television show 'People ask, ministers answer', the Minister of Education and Training, Pham Vu Luan, said that widely-reported VND34 trillion (USD1.61 billion) price tag for a new education reform plan was a mistake.
Minister of Education and Training, Pham Vu Luan
Do you think that the Ministry of Education and Training's plan to spend VND34 trillion on new textbooks is wasteful?
If VND34 trillion is were used just for new textbooks, then yes. However, I have to make clear that 34 trillion was not a number that was on any of the papers we submitted at the meeting with the National Assembly's Standing Committee. Only the goals of the reform plan, performance and progress were presented and discussed.
Then where did the number 34 trillion come from?
It's the result of compiled research from various experts. They proposed that new content of textbooks be developed, that staff be re-trained, new equipment acquired along with a number of other tasks. They put the number for the creation of new content for textbooks at around VND100 billion.
But even a representative of the Ministry of Education and Training cited the VND34 trillion plan during the meeting with NA's Standing Committee and press conferences, isn't that right?
This was a mistake. I was on a business trip overseas and could not attend the meeting with NA's Standing Committee. Our representative mentioned VND34 trillion while answering one of the questions from the NA deputies. We'll take responsibility for this mistake, however I want to repeat that the number is not on any papers submitted by us. We still have a lot of work to do in order to realise this plan.
Can you talk about the plan's implementation?
After the NA issues a decree on educational reform, the Prime Minister will announce the steps specific agencies need to carry out. The Ministry of Education and Training is expected to be assigned to work on creating new curricula and textbooks. This information will be made public and opinions gathered from the public and other bodies, such as the National Committee for Education Reforms.
The plan will go through a number of reviews. The Prime Minister will verify the work and may report to the NA if required.