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Textbook reform faces challenges

Update: September, 10/2014 - 09:34

We need to start textbook retraining for teachers now, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Children Trinh Ngoc Thach told Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

Can you explain the plan to train teachers to use the new textbooks which are scheduled for 2017?

At the upcoming October National Assembly meeting, the deputies are expected to approve a resolution on textbook reform scheduled to start in 2017. That's why we have to kick off our preparations for the reform right from early next year.

According to our schedule we have only two years to prepare. So, all universities nationwide will have to work out plans to train the next generation of students, final year students. The training programme, of course, will cover changes to the new textbooks.

But one thing I'm worried about is whether the new graduates will be able to find jobs. As is the case every year, there are only a few vacant positions at each school. In this situation, we have to send old teachers to university for retraining. So, I think after the National Assembly approves the resolution, we have to work out a plan to retrain old teachers on how to use the new textbooks.

Do you think universities have the capacity to offer retraining courses for old teachers in such a short period of time?

I have no doubt there will be many challenges ahead. I think we have to concede that the teaching methodology at our universities of education is some how outdated. To meet the new requirements, all universities will need to adjust their teaching programmes.

But, to start retraining the teachers won't be easy at all. It is a very tough job. We will have to reform the four year curricula to bring it in line with textbook reforms.

In the long run, what should the education sector do to achieve its reform targets?

Firstly, they have to train a new generation of cadres and teachers to gradually replace the old staff and teachers at schools nationwide.

And secondly, they will have to increase the number of core teaching staff at all schools.

Why do I say this? For many years, we have employed poor quality teachers. It is high time for us to employ only the best teachers. I understand it won't be easy to solve this problem. But we have to do it!

Does the National Assembly's Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Children have any proposals to help overcome challenges in textbook reform?

When we did the assessment of the textbook reform, we were a bit worried and highly appreciative of efforts made by the drafting committee.

We totally agreed on the necessity to take it step by step in retraining the teachers. Not all teachers are sent to retraining courses at the same time.

We must plan who should go first, second and so on. In addition, we have to do the screening where only qualified teachers will remain and the weaker ones will go. This is a very critical and tough action but it is necessary if we want to achieve education reform. — VNS

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