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Finding the right books

Update: October, 19/2019 - 07:53

 

 

HELPING HAND: A student and her mother (right) talk to a shop assistant at Việt Nam Education Publishing House to find reference books for the new school year. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng

 

HCM CITY -- Due to their variety of options, parents have not been able to find quality reference books for their children for school use.

 

A parent of an 8th grader at Nguyễn Du Secondary School in HCM City’s District 1 said that a physics teacher required a book called 8th Grade Physics Teaching Material, published by the HCM City Education Department and Việt Nam Education Publishing House.

The book will be used as a substitute for the textbook. The parent visited the bookstore and found that it was part of a four-book collection, used for students between grades 6 and 9. Each book costs VNĐ45,000 to 58,000.

Another parent with a 6th-grade child in Gò Vấp District also experienced the same problem. Her child’s English teacher asked for a reference book called English Exercises by authors Mai Lan Hương and Nguyễn Thanh Loan. 

She purchased both because the book has two editions, one with only questions priced at VNĐ36,000, and the other with both questions and answers priced at VNĐ48,000.

Many reference books are sold at some Fahasa and Phương Nam bookstores. Each subject for each grade has five to 10 reference books for parents to consider.

Phương Nam bookstores have more than 12 literature titles for 8th graders to choose from, eight of which are compiled by the same author. 

Depending on the publishing house, the same book will be available under different titles.

Even for the first grade, parents can find many reference books such as 500 Selective Math Exercises, Collection of Math Problems and Strengthening Math Skills, among other titles.

From grade 2 onwards, the best-selling reference books have problem-solving exercises.

Since reference book prices are not listed publicly as are textbooks, this has created a lucrative market for fake books with bad printing and unoriginal content, according to bookstore staff. It is important for parents to be aware of this and only purchase books at trusted bookstores.

In response to a Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper article, officials of the Secondary Education Department said that more supporting materials such as reference books were needed. 

"It is the teachers’ job to help students read quality supplementary materials that are based on the standards of official textbooks," they said.

“The fact that teachers use certain teaching materials in place of textbooks is in conflict with education regulations, causing financial waste for parents. 

"The school should develop a shared library with easy access for both students and teachers."  

The Ministry of Education and Training allows teachers to devise their own teaching curriculum, based on official materials provided by relevant authorities. However, teachers are supposed to inform parents beforehand.

According to a representative of the Việt Nam Education Publishing House in HCM City, the current Publishing Law does not require an author to sign an exclusive contract with any publisher, except for textbooks that are considered “a special item with high universality”.

As there are many publishers in the market, book titles have become more diverse.

He added that the quality of any book was mostly based on its author’s reputation or implicit agreements between publishers.

Parents should carefully evaluate their reference book choices before making any purchases, experts said. VNS


 

 

GLOSSARY

Due to their variety of options, parents have not been able to find quality reference books for their children for school use.

Due to” means “because of”

Options are choices.

A variety of options means many, different choices.

Reference books are books used to look up facts rather than to read from cover to cover, like a novel.

The book will be used as a substitute for the textbook.

A substitute is something that is used in place of something else.

A textbook is a book with information that is used for studying a course. 

She purchased both because the book has two editions, one with only questions priced at VNĐ36,000, and the other with both questions and answers priced at VNĐ48,000.

Purchased means “bought”.

Each subject for each grade has five to 10 reference books for parents to consider.

To consider 10 reference books means to think about using them.

Phương Nam bookstores have more than 12 literature titles for 8th graders to choose from, eight of which are compiled by the same author. 

Compiled, in this case, means written or put together.

Since reference book prices are not listed publicly as are textbooks, this has created a lucrative market for fake books with bad printing and unoriginal content, according to bookstore staff.

A lucrative market is one where a lot of money can be made.

Fake books are books that are not written and produced the way that books should be produced and written.

Content is the words and pictures in a book.

Unoriginal content is content that has been changed from the way it was first presented.

It is important for parents to be aware of this and only purchase books at trusted bookstores.

To purchase means to buy.

Trusted bookstores are bookstores that can be believed to be selling what their owners say they are selling.

In response to a Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper article, officials of the Secondary Education Department said that more supporting materials such as reference books were needed. 

Response means reply.

"It is the teachers’ job to help students read quality supplementary materials that are based on the standards of official textbooks," they said.

Supplementary materials are extra books and things that students can use. Quality supplementary materials are such things that are of a high standard.

“The fact that teachers use certain teaching materials in place of textbooks is in conflict with education regulations, causing financial waste for parents. 

In conflict” means “against”.

The Ministry of Education and Training allows teachers to devise their own teaching curriculum, based on official materials provided by relevant authorities.

To devise a curriculum means to work one out.

A curriculum is a list of subjects that will be studied for a certain course.

Relevant means appropriate.

According to a representative of the Việt Nam Education Publishing House in HCM City, the current Publishing Law does not require an author to sign an exclusive contract with any publisher, except for textbooks that are considered “a special item with high universality”.

An exclusive contract is a deal that no one else signs.

Universality is the quality of involving or being shared by all people.

He added that the quality of any book was mostly based on its author’s reputation or implicit agreements between publishers.

Your reputation is the way in which other people see you, based on the things you do and how you do them.

Implicit between publishers are agreements that are always connected to publishers.

Parents should carefully evaluate their reference book choices before making any purchases, experts said.

To evaluate something means to put it to test to check out how worthwhile it is.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. A parent of an 8th grader bought one book with only questions for VNĐ63,000 and one with questions and answers for VNĐ84,000.
  2. Nguyễn Du Secondary School in Ha Noi’s District 1.
  3. The Việt Nam Education Publishing House is in Hà Nội only.
  4. Fahasa and Phương Nam are bookstores.
  5. Mai Lan Hương and Nguyễn Thanh Loan are people who write books. 

 

ANSWERS: 1. False; 2. False; 3. False; 4. True; 5. True.

 

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