Tuesday, April 20 2021


Việt Nam’s teachers should have a choice of textbooks

Update: March, 07/2019 - 05:00

Bùi Mạnh Hùng.— Photo baohaiquan.vn

Professor Dr. Bùi Mạnh Hùng, a former co-ordinator of general education reform in Việt Nam, speaks to Dân Trí online newspaper on how to ensure students have high-quality textbooks

How do you respond to the National Assembly Standing Committee’s decision to allow just one set of textbooks for a subject, not several sets of textbooks as had been required in a resolution adopted by the National Assembly?

The idea of having several sets of textbooks instead of only one set, as written in Resolution No. 88, is a progressive decision for the Vietnamese education sector towards global integration.

At present, not a single developed nation, from South Korea, Japan, Germany and Finland to the USA, uses only one set of textbooks in their schools. This means there is more opportunity for teachers to be creative with their lesson designs and more space for them to meet their students’ unique requirements.

So the idea of having several sets of textbooks, in my opinion, is totally appropriate for Việt Nam. If we have only one set of textbooks, many objectives laid down in the current educational reform plan may not be achievable.

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has stated that Việt Nam needs a roadmap for the plan to have several sets of textbooks for one subject.

“When the country has gained better socio-economic conditions, we’ll have the plan to be implemented,” said Chairwoman Ngân.

More recently, the Ministry of Education and Training has worked hard to develop a new school curriculum. But it still needs to come up with more specific steps to meet national demands.

For a few years to come, Việt Nam will not use multiple sets of textbooks for a single subject. But we hope that day will come as the country has deeply integrated internationally. Our education should be on par with that of other nations.

Will you please tell us some of the negative impacts of delaying the programme to have multiple sets of textbooks?

The delay will have negative impacts on many management officers and teachers in the education sector as well as publishing houses and organisations that are involved in drafting and printing the textbooks.

Immediately following the release of the roadmap for the new school curriculum, textbook writers and compilers started to develop a detailed. In the last year or so, hundreds of Professors, Associate Professors and others have gathered to prepare for the switch. This is food for thought for all of us.

Do you have any suggestions for how to implement the policy effectively?

It is not the right time for Việt Nam to introduce the programme – several sets of textbooks for one subject. Some foreign countries, including developed nations like Germany, Finland and others, have published just two or three sets of main textbooks.

However, my understanding is that the resolution will see a set of textbooks compiled by the Ministry of Education and Training. In my opinion, it would be better to let the publishing houses and investment organisations discuss how they should co-operate in creating the required textbooks. All we want is to have healthy competition for writing and printing school books in a transparent manner. — VNS

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