Associate Professor Van Nhu Cuong speaks to Vietnam Plus about draft Education Curriculum Reforms by the Ministry of Education and Training.
What do you think about the draft Education Curriculum Reforms which were recently made public by the Ministry of Education and Training?
I appreciate the main directions laid down in the reforms, particularly the decision of dividing general education into two stages. The ultimate goal of the reforms is to help students develop virtue and ability.
The reforms are divided into two stages. The first stage is from grade 1 – 9 (O level) and the second stage is from grade 10-12 (A level).
I think this is a rational decision. It helps divide the students into two streams. After finishing the O level, students with good learning capacity will go to the A level and then to universities. These guidelines will help to streamline students' learning and what they learn will be close to their real life.
I totally agree with the decision to eliminate the extra curriculum on military training at the beginning of the school year for students at secondary school (A level).
Regarding the educational objectives as laid down in the reforms, I think they are realistic and specific. This is the first time that the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has introduced curriculum reforms with specific criteria covering three virtues and eight abilities for each student.
As an education expert, do you have any suggestions or recommendations regarding the drafting of the reforms?
After reading the draft, I have a few concerns regarding the order of the students' required abilities, and the fostering of students' love for labour and creative activities.
In the draft, the MOET comes up with eight compulsory abilities, namely: self learning, problem solving and creativity, aesthetics, physical education, communication skills, co-operation, maths skills, information technology and mass communications.
In my opinion, some of the abilities could be combined together. For example, we can combine the abilities of self-learning with problem solving and creativity as the ability to look for information and creativity or combine the abilities of communication skills and co-operation into the ability to amicable and co-operative communication.
In addition, I suggest that the MOET should add one ability – the critic.At present, students are weak at critical thinking. Being good at this will help students think independently and be self confident.
The new education curriculum pays more attention to forming students' abilities rather than teachers' transferring their knowledge to the students as at present.
Regarding the three essential virtues that each student should have: honesty, self control and love, I don't have any comments, yet, I want to add one more, i.e. hard work.
Do you think the education curriculum reforms will help turn out a new generation of students with good virtues and knowledge?
This is the ultimate desire of many people. However, to achieve these objectives depends on many factors, including the text books for each subject and the teaching in schools.
I hope writers of text books for primary, secondary and high schools will consider these guidelines as a lodestar for their work.
Last but not least, the MOET should pay attention to giving proper training to teachers on how to use the new text books to achieve targets set for education reforms. — VNS