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Extra lesson fees can't be curtailed until teachers' incomes increase

Update: November, 19/2013 - 10:20

Dao Trong Thi, head of the NA's Committee for Culture, Education, Adolescents and Child Affairs told Khoa Hoc & Doi Song (Science and Life) newspaper about the issues surrounding teachers charging for extra lessons outside of school

The voters said that each extra lesson comprised of 50 students, with each student studying two or three subjects in return for VND1 million ($48) a month, meaning the teachers were having an easy ride. What are your thoughts?

I think if a student has to pay as much as VND1 million a month for extra lessons, it is not in line with Ministry of Education and Training regulations.

But that is only an exceptional case, not something common for the whole educational system.

For such cases, proper fines should be imposed and there is no need for discussion around that.

If a teacher carries out these practices, it is best to just prohibit him or her from teaching extra lessons.

But if a student is not satisfied with their education at school, do you agree that he or she still has the right to take extra lessons?

That is true. There are plenty of reasons why students take extra lessons. Sometimes parents have their children take extra lessons because they do not have time to take care of the kids' education. The problem is how to manage the organisation of extra courses.

I think in the future, if teachers' earnings improve, we will be able to cut the link between extra courses and schools. If the schools are involved in such activities, there will definitely be problems.

There has not been a clear separation between main lessons and extra lessons. Public concerns have been raised over this problem.

Teachers may try to pressurise students into taking extra lessons. There are many ways to do that, such as teaching the main content of the curriculum in extra lessons.

As a result, students who do not take extra lessons will not be able to perform well in tests.

So what is the solution?

We need to cut off the link between extra courses and schools. This way, the students will have the right to choose the most suitable teachers for extra lessons. They can choose whichever teacher they like outside of the school. Then it becomes an open service where everyone has a fair choice.

But this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Training. The schools cannot change it themselves, can they?

Current regulations allow schools to organise extra courses for their own students. There are conditions stipulated for that, but still, if it is allowed, there are ways for teachers to pressurise their students into taking their extra lessons.

The health sector's regulations are better, as they allow doctors to work extra hours in private clinics, but prohibit them from owning and operating their own private clinic.

However, the education industry allows school principals to organise extra courses, which can cause problems.

The organisation of extra courses should be the responsibility of educational centres. Teachers in these centres must be just as capable as regular school teachers, but schools and educational centres should be independent institutions with no links, as is the case between hospitals and private clinics.

What reforms should be made to reduce problems?

The difficulty is that teachers' main incomes are still low. If they are banned from teaching extra lessons, it will be difficult for them to maintain a comfortable life.

We need to raise their incomes first, so that they can live solely on their main income.

At present, it can't be helped that extra courses are being organised when things like that have not been properly taken care of. — VNS


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