Bucking common sense

Unsurprisingly the Ministry of Education and Training has been under fire since its big-ticket draft scheme to overhaul general education curricula and textbooks made headlines in local media last week. A public debate is still ongoing as to why the ministry has drafted a scheme costing a staggering VND70 trillion (VND3.44 billion) without due diligence. Experts say the ministry has taken an upside-down approach and that it cannot proceed with the scheme due to the lack of an overall education system reform strategy that should deal with the current impediments to educational development and determine an educational philosophy that will then guide how to change curricula and textbooks appropriately. … [Read more...]

70 trillion dong education development project unwelcomed


VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) plans to renovate the education curriculums and textbooks for grammar schools with a project worth 70 trillion dong. However, educators have raised doubts about the project. The project focuses on renovating the education curriculums and compiling textbooks for grammar schools, which is expected to cost 962 billion dong, upgrading the material facilities (35 trillion dong), investing in teaching aids (30,050 billion dong) and implementing the pilot textbook program (3,591 billion dong). … [Read more...]

Experts dismiss new USD3.39 billion education project


>> Textbook prices on the rise A VND70 trillion (USD3.39 billion) project on reforming high-school education being complied by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) is facing strong opposition from many experts. The project aims to comprehensively reform current high school curriculum and textbook content to bring them in line with international standards to meet the demands of national socio-economic development. Investment for the project is expected to be sourced from the state budget, loans, and non-refundable aid. According to Vu Dinh Chuan, Head of the High School Education Department, of the total investment, VND35 trillion (USD1.69 billion) would be used for school construction, VND30 trillion (USD1.45 billion) for the purchasing of teaching and learning equipment, VND960 billion (USD46.6 million) will be spent on textbooks, with VND390 billion earmarked for teacher training and improved skills for educational managers. He added that MoET was … [Read more...]

Dreams collide with China slowdown for job-seeking graduates


Graduates at a job fair at Tianjin University Sports Arena in China. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images "I didn’t know it would be like this," says 22-year-old Dang Lirong as she searches job postings for anything related to medicine at a Beijing employment fair. "I took the major because I thought it would give me a good job," Dang says, adjusting her black-frame glasses. After four years of toil at college in Hebei and a year interning at a Beijing hospital, she has yet to land full-time work. Dang is among 7.5 million college graduates entering China’s job market this summer, the most ever and almost seven times the number in 2001. Their dreams are colliding with an economy growing at the slowest pace in a generation, adding pressure on policy makers to spur the employment-intensive services sector. "Every year it’s the most difficult job-seeking season for graduates in history, and the next year is even more difficult," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director … [Read more...]

China’s Dickensian boarding schools


Liu Shi, whose parents have moved to Hangzhou to be migrant workers, at his school in Chunhua county in Shanxi Province, April 14, 2008. In the U.S. the words "boarding school" conjure images of children attending class in ivy-covered buildings, eating in oak-paneled dining halls, and exercising on well-manicured sports fields. An increasing number of these fortunate students come from wealthy families all over the globe—many from China. That cosseted world is unimaginable to the 33 million children living and studying in China’s 100,000 rural boarding schools—a number roughly equal to two-thirds of all children enrolled in U.S. public schools. At a rural elementary school in a poor, mountainous region of Shaanxi province in China’s northwest, the 60-odd students, age 5 to 14, sit for their lessons in dirty, concrete-walled classrooms. Meals, cooked on wood-fired stoves, are spare; meat is a once-a-week extravagance. Eighteen boarders sleep in bunks in … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s absurd textbook compilation process

But parents may not even be the strongest critics of the compilation procedure for general education textbooks. The compilers themselves have commented that the procedure they have been told to follow is an absurd one.

VietNamNet Bridge - Parents do not place high hopes in the Ministry of Education and Training's (MOET) initiative on re-compiling textbooks. At least, that's the case for parents who know how the textbook compilation process works. The late Professor Phan Trong Luan, who was the chief editor of advanced-level literature textbooks, once said that his authors had been ordered to finish compiling textbooks even though many issues had still been unresolved and under discussion. … [Read more...]

Laptops will replace books at school?

Hua Ngoc Thuan, Vice Mayor of the HCM City People's Committee, said at the meeting with the city's children on February 8, 2014, that the students would study with laptops instead of books.

VietNamNet Bridge - While technology experts believe that computers will replace students' books at school, educators keep doubtful about the prediction. He said students would not have to go to school with heavy schoolbags on their shoulders, because they would learn with computers at school. They would be able to access the information sources with the passwords to be granted to them. If so, students would have more time for practicing and extracurricular activities, because they don't have to spend time on writing on textbooks. However, educators have warned students' learning with computers may do more harm than good. Dr. Ngo Minh Oanh, Head of the Education Research Institute, an arm of the HCM City University of Education, while affirming that computers would be very useful to support students' learning, said this would bring a lot of negative effects. As students don't have to write on textbooks, their note-taking capability would decrease, their handwriting would be … [Read more...]

Fund supporting children at industrial zones launched

General Director of Home Credit Vietnam Friedrich Weiss speaking at the launching ceremony (Source: VNA)

Nhan Dan Online - As many as 1,000 gifts worth a total of VND 1 billion (US$47,000) will be presented to children at processing zones and industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Binh Duong and Dong Nai under the newly established 'Blooming Buds' fund. The fund was launched in HCMC this morning by the Educational Research Institute (ERI) and Home Credit Vietnam, a subsidiary of Home Credit Group - one of Europe's leading providers of consumer finance. The fund is the first of its kind to target infants, aged six months to five years old, whose parents are industrial workers within the three localities. Speaking at the launching ceremony, General Director of Home Credit Vietnam, Friedrich Weiss, said that it is an honour for the group to be the first sponsor of the fund. He also called for organisations and businesses to share a hand in caring for preschools. Under the framework of the fund, Home Credit will work with the ERI to hold training courses and talks on … [Read more...]

University accreditations unreliable


VietNamNet Bridge - The Vietnamese university accreditations have been relying on foreign organizations. Meanwhile, they do not have enough information to do this. Where are Vietnamese schools in the world's school map? 4icu.org University Web Ranking has recently released the list of Vietnamese accredited universities. The Hanoi National University tops the list, followed by the HCM City University of Technology, Can Tho University, HCM City Agriculture and Forestry, HCM City Information Technology University and the Hanoi Economics University. Analysts have noted that the 56 ranked Vietnamese universities include a lot of non-state owned schools, such as Lac Hong, Duy Tan and Van Lang. They have also found that the Vietnamese most prestigious schools have been absent in the list of top 200 universities in the world. Meanwhile, the other regional countries all have seen their representatives in the list. The Singapore National University ranks the 44th in the top 200, … [Read more...]

Foreign-invested schools lack rules

HCM CITY (VNS) — Foreign-invested high schools are winning over more and more parents in HCM City, offering perks like field trips and well-equipped classrooms with about 20-25 students per class. However, the lack of a comprehensive legal framework for this kind of educational institute makes it difficult for authorities to ensure that students are getting what they are advertised. The assessment was made by deputy director of the municipal Department of Education and Training Nguyen Hoai Chuong. There are about 50 foreign-invested schools in the city, half the total nationwide, according to the Department. During the 2012-13 academic year, they attracted 12,000 students, nearly 5,000 of them Vietnamese. The schools charge significantly higher tuition fees than local institutions, with preschool tuition of US$3,000-11,500, primary school tuition of $6,000-14,000 and high school tuition as high as $20,000. However, while many schools use the term "foreign-invested school" to … [Read more...]

Primary curriculums after 2015: Less subjects, more time


VietNamNet Bridge - After 2015, primary school students would have 37 learning weeks instead of 35 as currently, while they would have only three subjects instead of eight. The Vietnam Education Research Institute has proposed to re-design the curriculums for primary school students, believing that Vietnam should follow the "integrated and differentiated education" instead of the current education mechanism which focuses on providing academic knowledge to students. First graders now have 8 learning subjects, including math, Vietnamese language, morality, nature and society, music, arts, handicraft, physical exercises, and two collective education activities. However, under the education reform program, after 2015, they would only have three learning subjects - math, Vietnamese language and "Cuoc song quanh ta" (life around us) which is believed to be a learning subject which provides integrated natural and social knowledge. Besides, there would also be four education activities - … [Read more...]

Experimented high-quality schools’ failure raises doubts about the model

VietNamNet Bridge - In the eyes of parents, high-quality schools simply mean the schools which require high tuitions. Hanoi has shown its determination to develop 18 high quality schools in the city in a pilot program. However, people have expressed their objection to the plan, citing the failure of such schools in HCM City. The story of Le Quy Don High School Le Quy Don High School in HCM City has been well known for the high quality of teaching and learning. Being a "star" school, Le Quy Don always set very strict requirements on the students. Only those, who get very high marks from the school entrance exams, can enroll in the prestigious school. As such, Le Quy Don had been automatically considered a "high quality school" before it was assigned to develop into a high quality school within the framework of the city's program in the 2006-2007 academic year. The city's authorities then allowed Le Quy Don to collect VND850,000-890,000 in monthly tuition to make heavier … [Read more...]

Two teens take lives over unfinished homework: media

BEIJING - Two teens in eastern China committed suicide after "failing to complete homework assignments," state-run media said on Friday, in an extreme case highlighting the immense pressure schoolchildren can face. In a highly competitive education system that emphasises rote learning and passing exams, Chinese students spend on average 8.6 hours a day in class and can expect several more hours of assignments afterwards. A 15-year-old boy in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, who failed to finish homework from a three-day public holiday jumped to his death around 11:00 am on Thursday, the China Daily said. A 13-year-old boy in the same town got up at 4:00 am Thursday to complete holiday assignments but was found hanged on a staircase at his home two hours later, it said. "In a suicide note, the boy said he loved his parents, felt sorry for them and hoped they could bring lilies, his favourite flower, to his grave," it said. China has made impressive progress in rolling … [Read more...]

Vietnam wastes too much money to train gifted students


VietNamNet Bridge - Trillions of dong has been spent by the state budget to train gifted students. However, experts have pointed out that this is a big waste of money. Huynh Hoang Anh, a student of the physics majoring class of the Tran Dai Nghia High School for the Gifted in HCM City, is busy reviewing math, chemistry and biology lessons to prepare for the national entrance exams to the Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University. Anh said that he does not intend to continue the studies in physics, and he now studies in a physics majoring class simply because he likes the subject and he is good at it. A big waste of money Lam Trieu Nghi, Headmaster of the Tran Dai Nghia High School for the Gifted, said that gifted students are the best students selected from the school entrance exams. Most of the students can follow the heavy curriculums designed for them. The high schools for the gifted are the main sources which provide excellent students as the members of the national teams to … [Read more...]



Mekong Delta to create work for 400,000 Mekong Delta provinces plan to create jobs for around 400,000 workers this year, an increase of 100,000 people from last year, according to the Southwest Steering Committee. In order to fulfil the target, the provinces will change the labour structure towards non-agricultural sectors. In a bid to create more jobs, small-and medium-sized businesses, trade villages and cooperatives will be given priority in accessing loans, while disadvantaged groups of labourers will receive more assistance in vocational training and in seeking employment. The provinces will work to improve the quality of vocational training to meet the labour market's demands. Sending workers abroad after giving them careful training in both professional skills and working disciplines will offer an alternative solution. These people would receive further assistance in finding jobs after completing their contracts overseas. According to the Southwest Steering Committee, the … [Read more...]

HCM City parents attempt to select best schools


Many parents in big cities have been racing to send their children to prestigious schools. Besides the quality of the teachers other factors such as the condition of the school and extracurricular activities are influencing parents on their decisions. The HCM City People's Committee has banned primary schools to receive students who do not have permanent residence in the locality where the schools are located, but many students are still accepted. Vo Ngoc Thu, head of District 5's Department of Education and Training, said the department had detected a prestigious school taking many students who had legally gained permanent residence registration at the same time. After the inspection, it turned out to be that these students had their permanent residence moved to the locality for the purpose of attending the school. Besides the permanent residence change, many parents voluntarily sponsor schools so that they can have their children admitted, according to Mrs. Thu. To deal with … [Read more...]

New education quality verification system takes criticism


While a regulation on education quality verification has taken effect since January 6, many schools in HCM City said it’s unpractical and improper. Under the regulation, schools across the country will be verified based on new criteria set for school management, teacher quality, class sizes, school infrastructure and study facilities, cooperation with families and community and education results. The new regulation stipulates 35 as the maximum number of students per class for primary education, at 45 for secondary and high school education. Schools in the inner city must have at least six square metres per student and those in the outskirts must have 10 square metres per student. Difficult to meet new requirements In mid-December 2012, the HCM City municipal Department of Education and Training announced a list of 91 schools ranging from preschools to high schools that were to be subject to the verification system. However, the list did not include any schools in … [Read more...]

Critical thinking competition helps pupils sharpen their wits

HCM CITY (VNS) — A competition kicked off on Monday to help elementary-school students refine their critical-thinking skills. The competition, whose subject is "Who is more sharp-witted?", was organised by the Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the Central Team Council and FrieslandCampina and will end on December 16. There will be a total of 68 prizes worth VND217 million (US$10,432), and three rounds at the school, regional and national levels. The highest prize for the winner is VND50 million ($2,403). … [Read more...]