“Integrated subject” frightens teachers
The national program initiated by the Ministry of Education and Training is under the hectic preparation. It is expected that the new education curricula would be applied after 2015. However, doubts still exist about the feasibility of the program.
The suggestion of the so called “integrated learning subject” has been highlighted as one of the most important changes in the education curricula made by the compilers of the program.
“At present, there is one textbook for every learning subject. But after 2015, there would be an integrated subject where materials are gathered, so that teachers and students can use more easily,” Prof Dinh Quang Bao explained.
A lot of topics would be ready made for teachers and students to help improve students’ capability, or the topics of great interests, which are the burning issues in the world.
However, the great idea by the thinkers has not been applauded by school teachers. Do Thi Minh Duc, a lecturer of the Hanoi University of Education, said teachers have been struggling hard to “escape from the integration.”
“They said the integrated subject has made both teachers and students suffer. I am afraid of the “integration”,” Duc said.
“Vietnam thinks it needs to follow the theories and practice applied by other countries with advanced education. However, teachers would face big difficulties if they have not been prepared for the “integration”,” she added.
Teaching staff “abandoned?”
Experts say they can foresee the failure of the program on renovating textbooks and education curricula, because the program does not tend to renovate the teaching staff, the nucleus of the renovation program.
Prof Pham Minh Hac, a well-known educator, former Minister of Education, said pedagogical schools are the factories which produce the teaching staff to serve the renovation. Meanwhile, the factories have not been well equipped, which means that they would not be able to churn out high quality products.
Vietnam now strives to the “integration” in education, but its current conditions are not ready enough.
Prof Hac said teachers would have to spend much time to prepare for the integration teaching. For example, when teaching the basic operations, they would have to prepare different teaching aids to serve the topics.
Dr. Le Dinh Thong, a lecturer of the Hoa Sen University, said “integration” means the individualization in teaching. Therefore, the teaching method would be efficient only in the classes with limited numbers of students. Meanwhile, all the schools in Vietnam are overloaded with 50-60 students in every class. This makes it impossible to apply integration teaching there.
Meanwhile, Hoang Truong Giang, MA, Deputy Dean of the Primary Education Department of the HCM City University of Education, said most of the teachers now in Vietnam have long service length, but they still lack experience in integration teaching.
Therefore, the first thing that needs to be done within the renovation program is to renovate the pedagogical schools. If not, graduates of the schools would still have to undergo re-training period to get adapted to the new circumstances.
Bao himself admitted that the renovation of the teaching staff remains left open. He said that in order to renovate the whole education system, it’s necessary to set up a new mechanism to renovate the teaching staff and the training establishments that create teachers. It is the pedagogical schools which need to pioneer the renovation process.