Everyone has a dream, and teachers at a high school in south-central Vietnam appear to be big dreamers.
As they sat for their final term geography examination last week, 11th graders at Tran Hung Dao, a school for gifted students in Binh Thuan Province, were asked to draw a chart displaying GDP data in 2010 of Vietnam and four Southeast Asian neighbors.
According to a data table accompanied by the question, in the test paper seen by Tuoi Tre News, Vietnam’s GDP in 2010 was “US$101,611.4 million," and Thailand, a mere $701.0 million.
This implies that the gross domestic product of Vietnam was 145 times that of Thailand six years ago, raising serious concerns over its accuracy.
According to World Bank data, in 2010 Vietnam’s GDP topped $115.9 billion, and Thailand, $318.9 billion. This means the Thai economy was 2.75 times bigger than Vietnam’s.
The gap narrowed to 2.25 times in 2013 when each country’s respective GDP was $387.3 billion and $171.4 billion, however it is impossible for Vietnam’s GDP to ever be 145 times higher than Thailand’s.
Besides the chart task, the same question also requests students to comment on the GDP of the five countries, which also include Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore.
It remains to be seen how the question with such inaccurate information would be scored.
This chart rendered by Google using World Bank data shows Vietnam's and Thailand's GDP in 2014.
This is not the first time a Vietnamese school has prepared questions with inaccurate or false information for use in exams.
In April, a high school in the southern province of Dong Nai also made headlines with its literature exam question, which ‘relocated’ two south-central provinces to the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.
The question, prepared by the provincial education department for all local 12th graders, quoted an excerpt from a newspaper, saying that 12 provinces, including ten in the Mekong Delta, had declared natural disasters due to drought and salinization, and asked students to write a 400-word essay about climate change.
Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan, two provinces in south-central Vietnam, were listed among the ten Mekong Delta localities.
While the mistake belongs to the newspaper in the first place, the education department admitted on April 12 it should have checked the facts more carefully before using them in exam papers.