Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan spoke to the newspaper Tuoi Tre (Youth) about a new scheme to promote ethics, creativity and practical skills in the classroom
What issues does the scheme focus on?
The scheme will analyse the achievements and weaknesses of the education and training sector in Viet Nam as well as identify the causes of the weaknesses.
It aims to raise the need for reform; discuss the principles and ideas for reform, including mission and measures; and give recommendations.
Is the Ministry of Education and Training planning to do something in the new school year that could create a foundation for the implementation of education reform?
This academic year, the ministry will adapt planning for the network of universities and colleges in the 2011-20 period to meet the national strategy of developing human resources.
The ministry has set up a steering committee for curricula reform and textbooks for high school after 2015.
It is continuing to conduct research on curricula and textbook reform for high-school education after 2015, which is expected to be submitted to the Prime Minister by the end of this year.
In addition, it will continue to reform curricula, teaching methodology and testing at all levels, particularly focusing on student creativity and self-study ability. It will also educate them more about moral values.
The ministry also plans to reform universities to meet the demand of educating high-quality teachers.
Is curriculum and testing reform at high school the major task this school year?
Yes. Last year, the ministry modified the curriculum at high schools to reduce the study load for students, a problem that has existed for years.
This was done by simplifying and reducing the amount of content of several subjects so the students could learn more effectively within a reasonable amount of time.
Now, teachers have more time to help high achievers and and assist struggling students.
This year, we will continue to do this based on the experiences of last year.
The ministry will also require schools to offer soft-skills for students besides the main curriculum. Schools will also be asked to include the teaching of culture and history of their localities.
The public has raised concerns about the quality of testing at high schools during the last several years. What will the ministry do to improve the quality and the results?
Reform of teaching methods must be in line with reform of testing. Graduation exams continue to be changed; the role of education and training departments has been emphasised and testing has been improved.
For instance, essays on high – school graduation exams and university entrance exams now require students to develop creativity as well as the ability to compile knowledge and analyse issues. The tests do not just test their memorisation skills, which has been done for many decades.
Tests will also require students to update their knowledge on current local and international issues.
The ministry is also carrying out a project to develop schools for gifted students and develop these into model schools for other schools to follow in terms of operations.
We will continue to improve the exams given for gifted students at the national levels, as well as their preparation for these tests, including those at the international level. — VNS