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Vietnam plans to change education system, arousing concerns over teacher retraining

Monday, August 17, 2015, 17:26 GMT+7

Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training is gathering opinions on a draft plan on a new curriculum with major changes to the country’s current education system.

According to the ministry, the new program dedicated to basic education, including 12 years, aims to help students improve their own ability, harmoniously develop their physical and mental characteristics, become active learners, have good virtues and necessary skills to be responsible citizens, hard-working, cultured and creative workers in the future.

Currently, basic education in Vietnam comprises five years of elementary school, four years of middle school, and three years of high school.

Instead of primarily passing knowledge on to students like before, teaching in the new program will focus on forming and developing the ability and virtues of learners, the ministry said. Pursuant to the new curriculum which is expected to be in place in the academic year of 2018-19, the current 12-year school system will be divided into two stages, including basic education and career orientation.

The basic stage includes elementary and middle school while high school will be devoted to career orientation.

Moreover, students will not be required to study all the subjects like before.

There will be 7-8 compulsory subjects in the basic education period and four in the other stage.

Students will have chances to choose to study some of the remaining subjects, depending on their interest in future careers.

In addition, some traditional subjects will be combined to make integrated ones to be included in the new curriculum.

Once the program is approved, the Ministry of Education and Training will start preparing new textbooks.

Teacher retraining

The ministry’s announcement of the new program has drawn much attention from experts.

Retraining teachers is among the topical issues they have been discussing extensively.

Vo Van Khanh, vice principal of Ton That Tung High School in the central city of Da Nang, said new subjects require teachers to acquire more knowledge and focus intensely on their expertise to meet the new teaching requirements.

Khanh added that schools and students will meet with difficulties when getting used to the new program.

Associate Professor Van Nhu Cuong, a 76-year-old mathematician who has written many textbooks for high school and college students, said pedagogy universities and colleges should prepare plans on training teachers to be able to teach the integrated subjects.

He added that to apply the changes, cooperation from pedagogical schools is needed since they have to reform the current teaching system as well as compile new training programs for future teachers.

Prof. Dinh Quang Bao, former president of Hanoi Pedagogical University, also agreed that teacher training schools need to change their curricula for the new teaching system to be in good place.

“This is the issue that pedagogical schools should pay attention to so that they could train a workforce for the new program,” Prof. Bao commented.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the ministry has prepared plans for training teachers, focusing on the major content of the new program.

In order to cut costs and take advantage of information technology, the ministry will also enhance online training during which teachers will be able to interact better alongside direct training courses.

“They could also discuss with experts through open forums, or send their questions and will get the answers via the Internet,” Deputy Minister Hien said.

Contests on teaching integrated subjects will also be held and become chances for teachers to join and practice their expertise, he added.

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