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VietNamNews

Are schools getting it right?

Update: September, 06/2014 - 12:00

All over the world people ask whether children learn the right things in school.

Does it make them ready for what they want to do after school?

Viet Nam is no different.

People are asking whether schools need to change a bit.

Students enjoying a lesson at school
Students enjoying a lesson at school. - Photo tuyensinh247

HANOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's education experts yesterday called for more efforts to better prepare students for their respective career choices and entry into the labour market during their years in secondary education.

They gathered at a meeting organised by the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children yesterday to discuss the national project to reform textbooks and curricula beginning in 2015, which the Ministry of Education and Training is drafting.

A majority of the participants agreed that Vietnamese students were experiencing extreme pressure whenever they were preparing for examinations and remained vague about their career choices and the idea of life-long learning.

Tran Thi Tam Dan, former Chairperson of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said the system should be divided into 10 years for basic education and two years for career orientation.

But Professor Dao Trong Thi, Chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said students should only spend nine years in basic education and after that, either enrol in vocational schools or spend another three years in preparation for university.

Currently, Vietnamese students enroll in elementary school at the age of six from Grades One to Five, then move on to Secondary School from Grades Six to Nine and High School, from Grades 10 to 12.

The participants noted that a majority of students devoted all these years to studying, with the sole purpose of entering university, and have no idea about what to do if they failed to pass the national university entrance examination.

Dan also urged the Ministry of Education and Training to encourage individuals, organisations and the private sector to take part in writing textbooks, a prevalent practice in a number of Western countries.

Professor Nguyen Minh Hac, who was Education Minister from 1987 to 1990 and is considered to be one of the country's leading education reformists, said that if changes were not carefully and immediately done on the current educational system, Viet Nam would continue to have a huge number of unemployed university graduates, a major concern for a country in desperate need of young talent.

Hac said the pressure for students to enter university was so great that 1.2 million students would compete in entrance examinations every year, with some private universities even trying to lure more students by lowering the required entrance scores to a level deemed as "unacceptable."

He also agreed that the last two years should be used for classifying students who either want to go to universities and colleges or want to immediately enter the labour market.

The system should make sure that after entering the labour market, students could return to school to pursue higher education at any time, Hac added.

"Any reform of our textbooks and curricula must go hand-in-hand with the reform of our teaching and learning methods and a change in this entire society's mindset," Hac stressed.

"Learning is not for examinations. It is meant to improve their lives and that of their families, their communities and the entire society."

Professor Ho Ngoc Dai, a renowned educational psychologist, said the project must receive inputs and suggestions from the children themselves.

"The children of the 21st century are so different, and we cannot force them to study in the same way we or previous generations did," Dai remarked. "We want to make sure that studying and going to school can make the children happy, and they must be at the centre of all the reforms we are seeking."

Dai added that the reform of pedagogical schools was also critical to ensure that teachers would keep pace with and adapt to change. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Viet Nam's education experts yesterday called for more efforts to better prepare students for their respective career choices and entry into the labour market during their years in secondary education.

The students' respective career choices are the choices that each individual student may make.

The labour market is the community of people who are looking for jobs.

They gathered at a meeting organised by the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children yesterday to discuss the national project to reform textbooks and curricula beginning in 2015, which the Ministry of Education and Training is drafting.

To reform textbooks means to make them change to suit the times.

Curricula is the plural of curriculum. A curriculum is a collection of subjects that makes a school or university course. The word comes to English from Latin. Many such words that end in –um in the singular will end in –a in the plural.

Tran Thi Tam Dan, former Chairperson of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said the system should be divided into 10 years for basic education and two years for career orientation.

Career orientation means guidance and training towards helping you choose your career.

But Professor Dao Trong Thi, Chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said students should only spend nine years in basic education and after that, either enrol in vocational schools or spend another three years in preparation for university.

To enrol in a vocational school means to sign up in a vocational school.

A vocational school is a school where you are taught to do a job rather than have a broad education.

The participants noted that a majority of students devoted all these years to studying, with the sole purpose of entering university, and have no idea about what to do if they failed to pass the national university entrance examination.

Sole means only.

Entrance examinations are special exams people who want to enrol in universities and some schools often need to pass. If they pass them, they will have a good chance of being accepted to study there.

Dan also urged the Ministry of Education and Training to encourage individuals, organisations and the private sector to take part in writing textbooks, a prevalent practice in a number of Western countries.

The private sector is the community of businesses that are privately owned and not owned by the government.

Prevalent means common.

Viet Nam would continue to have a huge number of unemployed university graduates, a major concern for a country in desperate need of young talent.

People who are unemployed do not have jobs.

University graduates are people who have been to university and earned qualifications such as degrees and diplomas.

Talent means natural skills.

Hac said the pressure for students to enter university was so great that 1.2 million students would compete in entrance examinations every year, with some private universities even trying to lure more students by lowering the required entrance scores to a level deemed as "unacceptable."

To lure means to attract.

He also agreed that the last two years should be used for classifying students who either want to go to universities and colleges or want to immediately enter the labour market.

To classify people means to put them into different groups.

The system should make sure that after entering the labour market, students could return to school to pursue higher education at any time, Hac added.

To pursue high education means to take it on.

"Any reform of our textbooks and curricula must go hand-in-hand with the reform of our teaching and learning methods and a change in this entire society's mindset," Hac stressed.

A mindset is an attitude and a way of thinking.

Professor Ho Ngoc Dai, a renowned educational psychologist, said the project must receive inputs and suggestions from the children themselves.

Someone who is renowned is well known.

A psychologist is someone who studies human behaviour. An educational psychologist is one who works with learning processes.

Inputs are contributions.

Dai added that the reform of pedagogical schools was also critical to ensure that teachers would keep pace with and adapt to change.

Pedagogical schools are schools that train teachers.

To adapt means to change when things around you change.

WORKSHEET

 

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

1.      Someone who studies human behaviour.

2.      Someone who passes a course at university.

3.      The singular of curricula.

4.      The type of school that has students from Grade One to Grade Five.

5.      A special book that has in it what you will need to learn in a certain subject.

 

 

 

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ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2014





































1. Psychologist; 2. Graduate; 3. Curriculum; 4. Elementary; 5. Textbook.

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