2014: a tough year for Vietnam’s education

This year has been an unlucky one for Vietnamese educators as many new policies issued by the watchdog agencies have faced harsh criticism from the public.



education review 2014, education and training ministry, textbook reform, students

Education and Training Minister Pham Viet Luan.




MOET in April 2014 shocked the public when its Deputy Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien said at a National Assembly’s Steering Committee meeting that it would need VND34 trillion to implement the textbook renovation program.

The ministry has still incurred heavy criticism even though it reduced its budget to VND450 billion. It also had to struggle hard for the right to compile textbooks amid public opposition.

2-in-1 national exam controversial

MOET decided that there will be only one national exam for high school students instead of two separate exams – the high school finals and the university entrance exams.

While the 2-in-1 exam idea was advocated by the public, people spent time arguing about the technical problems that would arise once the national exam is removed.

Meanwhile, educators voiced their complaints that it would be very difficult to find the best students for university education, if students only have to attend one national exam. Solutions are still being discussed.

Marks replaced by teacher comments: unpopular

MOET decided that primary school students, who are just beginning to get accustomed to school should receive comments instead of marks, because bad marks would disappoint small children and make them afraid of studying.

However, teachers don’t want to make comments, because this takes time. Meanwhile, parents complain they would not clearly know about their children’s ability if teachers do not give marks to school work.

“One tablet for every student” program fails

The HCM City Education and Training planned to equip primary school students with tablets to help them improve studying. Students would not have to go to school with heavy schoolbags on their backs, while they would find it easier to search for information with the mobile devices.

The program was estimated to cost VND4 trillion. However, the program only exists on paper because it has been facing strong opposition from parents, who say they don’t want to spend money on tablets.

600 students out of school for 3 months

Six-hundred students in Huong Binh Commune of Huong Khe district in the central province of Ha Tinh have had to stay at home for several months, as their parents and local authorities still cannot agree about school restructuring.

Dao Trong Thi, Chair of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, noted that parents and local authorities have been using students as “hostages” to “haggle” over their benefits.

Ha Anh (VietnamNet.vn)

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