A report on the quality of text books and training programmes for high school education was discussed during a meeting of the National Assembly (NA)’s Standing Committee, which was held on August 15 afternoon.
The report was conducted by the NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children from the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year until now, and was delivered by the committee’s chairman Dao Trong Thi.
The report showed that the operation of experimental high schools and high schools for gifted students, as well as the classification of high school students into sectors, have been forcibly deviated from their initial directions.
“High schools for gifted students are set up with an aim to detect and nurture young talents for the country. However, many such schools have been paying too much attention to training students to help them pass their university entrance exams,” Thi assessed.
Experimental high schools are pursuing high quality education in order to satisfy students’ demands for university entrance, instead of piloting new education methods in a bid to foster national education reform, he said.
The classification of high school students into sectors has failed, with modest numbers of students registered to carry out specialised study rather than basic education.
From the 2003-2004 school year, education programmes for high school students have been divided into two sectors: natural science and social studies & humanities. Such a model was piloted in 89 schools in 21 cities and provinces nationwide, but has proven to have serious shortcomings after two years of implementation. As a result, the NA proposed that the government add basic education as another option for students.
“The model has not been strictly implemented as the initial directions required, since current training tends to focus on groups of students’ who just want to pass university entrance exams,” he commented.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, after three years of implementing the model, in the 2008-2009 school year, nearly 84% of tenth grade students registered for basic education and only around 14% of students applied for natural Ssience study, and only 2% registered for social and humanities studies. Almost all high schools nationwide are providing training based on programmes for basic education.
“This has shown the failures of the model,” he added.
Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan agreed, saying that high school education has yet to meet basic training-quality demands.
Concerns have also been raised over several issues of high school education, including the quality of textbooks and study programmes.
The report found that the current study programmes are overloading high school students with too much work..This is because textbook compilers have yet to balance theoretical with practical and education content with class time-limit.
“Textbooks for high school students just simply provide them with basic knowledge and have yet to pay proper attention to the development of students’ creativity and self-study capacity, as well as life skills,” Thi said.
However, improvement seems not to be easy due to the lack of participation by education experts, he added.