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Education to promote practical skills

Update: October, 18/2013 - 08:37

A class of fifth graders participate in exercises at Vinh Trai Primary School in northern Lang Son City. Viet Nam has launched a comprehensive education reform plan to address pitfalls in the previous system and promote everyday skills. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyet

HA NOI (VNS) — From now on, the Vietnamese educational model will not be "the teacher speaks and students take notes," said Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan.

Rather, students will learn skills applicable to real life including teamwork, independent study and presentation, and exams will test their ability to apply knowledge rather than memorised facts, he said.

The change follows a resolution on the comprehensive reform of education and training adopted by the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee at its eighth plenum, held early this month.

According to the Party Central Committee, Viet Nam's education and training sector still has many problems.

The quality of education fails to meet the demands of socio-economic development and does not give Viet Nam a competitive advantage when compared with other countries in the region and around the world.

Moreover, the system suffers from limited funding and failure to anticipate the need for qualified human resources during the country's industrialisation and modernisation process.

The newly-adopted reforms include a wide range of innovations, from training programmes at all educational levels and changed teaching and testing methods to mechanisms to ensure educational quality, including the improvement of teachers training.

Current textbooks were too academic and theoretical, so textbook changes would be a key part of the reform, minister Luan said.

Moreover, primary and secondary school students would gain practical knowledge suitable to their physical and mental development.

In high school, in addition to a few compulsory subjects, students would be able to choose what they wanted to learn depending on their hobbies, ability or career orientation.

"This will hopefully avoid the overloading that general education students are now facing as they have to study tens of the same subjects from lower grades to upper ones," Luan said.

Professor Hoang Tuy, a leading mathematician and one of the founders of the country's math-science curriculum, told Vietnam News Agency that the reform plan represented a progressive approach to education.

"Now it is the time to develop an educational system to help learners become independent and critical-thinking," he said.

After secondary school graduation, students would have more options including following higher education or job training depending on their interests and labour demand instead of being forced to follow a fixed training programme, Tuy said.

However, he cautioned, translating the new way of thinking into real strategies would take time and the results of such a comprehensive policy might take as long as a decade to be revealed. — VNS

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