Educational Challenges In Vietnam

Commentary: Looking back at the picture with red scarf reminds me the old day I was still in Vietnam brainwashed by the communist ideology. I was one of those red pioneers. The term used was “Cháu Ngoan Bác Hồ” or ” Good nephews or nieces of uncle Ho”.

It is simple to eliminate some unnecessary and outdated courses in Marxist-Lenism and the Thoughts of Ho Chi Minh. These theories have been proven wrong and continuing brainwashing will distract and confuse the students from the realistic and pragmatic applications.

How is the Vietnamese national education in the eyes of experts? Here is what they say about it.

Students wearing red scarfs, representing the red pioneers in the communist regime.

1) Prof Hoang Xuan Sinh, President of Thang Long University:

  • Education tangled like bamboo shavings Sinh said the Vietnamese education is now tangled like bamboo shavings, while there are too many wrong policies which should be blamed on managers. If the current problems cannot be settled, the situation would be even more serious and tangled in 30 years more.

2) Prof Nguyen Lan Dung, a well-known educator:

  • I feel sad when university graduates have to sell instant noodles to earn their living
  • A lot of university graduates have to sell instant noodles or take simple jobs to earn their living.
  • It is expected that by 2020, Vietnam would have 350-400 students for every 10,000 people. If we don’t improve the training quality, the students would not be even able to find the jobs as instant noodle marketers.
  • Dung also said that too many problems have been existing in the national education, but he believes that this should be blamed on the unreasonable curriculums instead of the bad textbooks. Vietnamese students now have to learn too many subjects.

3) Deputy President Nguyen Thi Binh:

  • Vietnam’s education goes contrary to the laws of society
  • The education situation is so serious. “We always say that education needs to go one step ahead of the socio-economic development. However, in fact, education cannot go ahead, but it is lagging behind. As such, education goes contrary to the laws of society,” she said.

4) Prof Tran Hong Quan:

  • The national education has many systematic errors

The professor said, since the Vietnamese education has too many systematic problems, it needs to change the systematic thinking.

Four decades have elapsed since the liberalization day, while Vietnam has undergone the doi moi (renovation) over the last ¼ of century, but education still has not become a lever which can help foster the socio-economic development. It is really a pity that Vietnam’s education has been lagging behind the regional countries.

5) Prof Hoang Tuy:

  • Vietnam’s education is out of tone from the civilized world

Tuy said that it’s urgent to carry out the education reform, considering this a vital task of the nation.

According to the professor, Vietnam’s education has taken a step back, which should be attributed to the “structural defects” or “systematical design errors.” Vietnam has been “out of tone” from the civilized world, but it still thinks that this is its original characteristic that needs to be preserved.

6) Prof Pham Minh Hac, former Minister of Education and Training:

  • Problems exist in textbooks

When I was the minister, I decided to eliminate difficult mathematics questions out of textbooks which were marked with star (*), because students just needed to receive basic knowledge. Meanwhile, nowadays, difficult mathematics questions have been given regularly to students. Mathematics alone has over 100 reference books.

A teacher who devoted all of his life to math teaching, said 50 percent of the knowledge in the math curriculums for general schools is unnecessary.

7) Prof Nguyen Xuan Han:

  • The current curricula harm students

Students of general schools have to work with too many of books, while students of universities lack books and lesson plans to study.
Han emphasized the necessity of recompiling the textbooks for students, saying that it is necessary to cut 30-50 percent of information in them.

Compiled by C. V

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