University curricula in Vietnam will be shortened by up to one year, according to a new framework of the country’s national education system recently approved by the prime minister.
The new framework, effective from October 18, is expected to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive makeover of Vietnam’s education, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Bui Van Ga told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Sunday.
According to the new framework, Vietnam’s 12-year general education will be left as it is, while higher education will be shortened from between four and six years to between three and five years.
Undergraduates in Vietnam currently take on average four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, five years to earn a bachelor of engineering degree, and six years for a bachelor of medicine degree.
The new framework looks to reduce these periods to three, four, and five years respectively, Ga said.
The deputy minister added that the shortening of university time would help put fresh graduates into the workforce as quickly as possible.
“In Vietnam, the [old] framework for the national education system had been based upon the 2005 and 2009 laws on education. However, the global picture of education has evolved so much over the past years that it demands adjustments in our own education system to catch up with other countries,” Ga said.
The current credit-based system employed by most Vietnamese universities already allows students to compress their time in university by up to one year by registering for more courses in each semester.
Therefore, Ga said, shortening the curricula is not equivalent to cutting down on the amount of knowledge students get from their tertiary education, but rather reflects a change in the method of delivering the same knowledge to students.
“[The new framework] states clearly that the goal of teaching has been changed from imparting knowledge to students to instructing them to discover their own capabilities and traits. This is done through more time reserved for self-guided study and independent research and less for lectures,” the deputy minister explained.
Parts of the new framework that do not violate Vietnam’s current laws on education would be effective immediately, while those that do would be implemented later, after the said laws have been revised, Ga said, addressing legal concerns surrounding the new framework.
Bui Van Ga, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Education and Training. Photo: Tuoi Tre