A revision session at Trần Hưng Đạo High School in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tùng
Nguyễn Xuân Thành, Director General of the Secondary Education Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, talks to Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper about changes for term times in the 2020-21 school year.
Do you think the Ministry of Education and Training’s decision to cut two weeks from the upcoming school year will make the curriculum become too compact?
The decision to cut two weeks from the 2020-21 school year has been calculated very carefully. The Ministry of Education and Training strongly believes that though students will have to learn for only 35 weeks instead of 37 as in the previous school years, there will be no difference in the knowledge they get in the upcoming school year. Under the new programme, all schools will have 35 weeks to accomplish their design school programmes, including extra-curricular activities.
Will the Ministry of Education and Training give instructions on how to develop the new curriculum to schools or will the schools develop their own?
The Ministry of Education and Training only gave guidelines on how to streamline the school curriculum for the second semester of the 2019-20 school year. For the 2020-21 school year on, the MOET will start drafting instructions for all schools nationwide. To do that we’ll have to review the school curriculum for all grades 1-12.
Will you please talk a bit more about the 2020-21 curriculum?
The MOET will give detailed instructions for the 2020-21 school year for all grades. The learning contents in the 2020-21 school year will include the knowledge the students of all grades have missed in the previous 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, in maths for 9th graders, the teachers will help the students review what they learned in the 8th grade and they will fill in any knowledge gaps the students have missed in the 2019-20 school year. We hope by doing that the students will have time to fill in the knowledge that they didn’t get in the previous school year.
How do you respond to the proposal submitted by many private schools in Hà Nội to the MOET on letting schools start the 2020-21 academic year four weeks earlier than public schools?
Due to the impacts of the COVID-19, the school year 2020-21 ended a bit later than in previous years. It means that private schools could start their school year at any time they think it is suitable for them. However, what I want to say is the schools should let the students have time to compensate for their late summer holidays due to the pandemic.
However, in the long run, I think, private and public schools should have the same school curricula developed by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). In other words, either a public school or a private school, in a school year, the students, in all grades, will have to attend classes for 35 weeks.
When will the 2020-21 school year start?
According to the plan, the 2020-21 school year will start on September 5 nationwide. The first term will start on September 5 and end on January 18.
The second term will then start the next day. The students will go to school for two weeks and then have one week of holiday for the Lunar New Year and ethnic minority students in some regions will have another week off for their new year festivals.
May 31 will be the last day of the school year and the students will have their three-month summer holiday. — VNS