by Bich Huong
The public paid atten-tion to a competition for gifted and talented ninth grade students organised by Hong Linh Town's Department of Education and Training in central Ha Tinh Province last week as over 70 local teachers were also seated for the same test with the students.
The competition was expected to find the best students in subjects like History, Biology, Chemistry and Geography and rate the teachers, too.
Some people disagreed with the department on the testing, saying that the same test for students and teachers means an underestimation or no respect for teachers.
Meanwhile, the head of the town's education department, Le Ba Thiem, said this school year saw the first time such a kind of competition was organised in the town.
Since the beginning of this school year, the department informed teachers about the competition and encouraged them to join as the competition results were used to select teachers for nursing the town's gifted and talented team.
"We expected that the testing made teachers review their knowledge, pay more attention to their work, at least on what they are delivering to students," Thiem said.
He told an online newspaper tamnhin.net on Sunday that when he inspected classes in the town, he was sad to see some teachers inattentive to maintain and enrich their knowledge.
The laziness and neglect caused mistakes that were possibly avoidable and they disappointed students, Thiem said.
Vice director of Ha Tinh Province's Education and Training Department, Nguyen Quoc Anh said that the testing for both students and teachers in Hong Linh Town was not a good way to rate teachers.
For teachers, besides knowledge and exam-taking skill, methods to deliver knowledge, to help students obtain knowledge and use it or dig for more information were more important, Anh said.
"I guess that few normal teachers could do exams designed for gifted and talented students because their typical features are expected to find and promote talent and innovation," he said.
Tran Nhu, a white collar worker in Ha Noi, said that she would not be surprised if a teacher could not answer a question that was designed to challenge fifth graders like her son.
"I sometimes fail to help my son with his math problems. I have a teacher study with him at home weekly and the tutor, who is working for a private school in Ha Noi, is also stuck on questions, particular those at a high level for talented students," she said.
The teacher, in that case, told her son that she would give him answers later after she reviewed books, Nhu said.
"I expect teachers keep studying, enriching their knowledge and skills so that they could instruct students," she said.
"I find nothing wrong if teachers and students are seated for the same exam," Nhu said.
"There is a problem for education managers to solve if teachers cannot pass the exam. We want qualified teachers for our children," she said.
In 2013, the principal of Cao Thang High school in central Thua Thien Hue Province asked teachers to do the same final tests with twelfth graders.
The move aimed to help the teachers to assess the difficulty of examination questions more exactly, then predict the students' ability to deal with such questions and the ability of teachers themselves as well.
However, the testing also faced objection by teachers and principals of other local high schools with an argument that it underestimated teachers. — VNS