Prof. Dr. Do Ngoc Thong, vice head of the compiling board for general school curriculum, talks with Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper about the new curriculum of general education for the 2018-2019 school year.
After debates on history textbooks in schools, the public is now complaining about outdated facts and figures in geography textbooks. What are your thoughts?
It is true. Life is changing everyday which means textbooks are soon outdated. The content of textbooks should be open ended to adapt to changes.
The curriculum of the general education should provide basic knowledge and avoid too many facts and figures. Facts and figures should be updated regularly by teachers during class.
Textbooks needs to be updated and supplemented every year with an aim to ensure the stability and continuity of the curriculum as well as being suitable with the social development and students' demands.
If the new curriculum is more open-ended, how open would it be? Has the Ministry of Education and Training given detailed instructions to teachers who are familiar with the current "closed" curriculum?
In the very first days, the new open-ended curriculum will cause some difficulties for teachers, especially low-qualified teachers. However, the openness will be managed. It means the curriculum must consist of basic knowledge and compulsory content for students. This is called standard content. Adjustment of content and updating facts and figures in textbooks must be based on confident sources.
Who will be the members of the writing board?
Compiling, setting up and developing the school curriculum is a science. In developed countries, they have professional compiling boards. But in Viet Nam, members of the writing board will be many specialists from different sectors including experts of education, basic sciences, methodology science, teachers, education managers, and representatives from related sectors and occupational associations.
How does the ministry explain the combination of history with other subjects in the new curriculum?
In several meetings, we (the minstry) have made clear the combination. History and geography will be combined as a social science subject. Physics, chemistry and biology will be the natural science subject.
In short, the combination is really a change of name. — VNS