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Education Ministry plan to rewrite textbooks divides NA legislators

Update: November, 21/2014 - 08:39
Students buy textbooks at a store in Cua Bac Street, Ha Noi. Textbooks for first through 12th grade would be rewritten under a textbook reform project. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung

HA NOI (VNS) — The National Assembly discussed the draft project on textbook reform yesterday, the national holiday for teachers.

The current curriculum overemphasised technical knowledge and failed to take into account individual strengths and weaknesses and regional cultural differences, NA members agreed.

Under the project, textbooks for first through twelfth grade would be rewritten. However, debate continues over whether how many textbooks should be written and what role the Education Ministry should play in this process.

Some NA members agreed with the Education Ministry's proposal that the ministry organise the writing of one set of textbooks but still allow individuals and private organisations to write their own textbooks. They said the draft must set out criteria for textbook author selection and publicise the selection process.

However, NA member Nguyen Thanh Tam (Tay Ninh Province), Nguyen Thi Kim Thuy (Da Nang) and Pham Thi Hong Nga (Ha Noi) suggested that the Education Ministry be restricted to a management role and only be allowed to establish a general curriculum.

Education Minister Pham Vu Luan said that under the proposal, the Ministry would not actually write textbooks. Rather, it would supervise the writing of one set of textbooks, which would be done by teachers, scientists and outside experts.

A national committee with representatives chosen from various organisations, including the ministry and the Central Committee for Publicity and Education, would assess the textbooks before use.

New adopted laws

The NA passed revised laws on NA organisation and social insurance yesterday.

The newly revised Law on the Organisation of the National Assembly stipulates that NA deputies have the right to request that the NA conduct a vote of confidence on a person holding a position elected or approved by the NA.

Under the law, delegations of NA deputies are responsible for organising meetings between deputies and constituents.

The law, which has seven chapters and 102 articles, also details the scope of NA deputies' activities.

The revised Law on Social Insurance has nine chapters and 125 articles. An important point is that it gives the social insurance agency the power to conduct specialised inspections of businesses' social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance payments to employees.

They also passed the Law on Citizen Identification and the Law on Civil Status.

The Law on Citizen Identification, which passed with a 76.66 per cent majority, lays the legal foundation for the allocation of a personal identity number to each citizen.

Meanwhile, the Law on Civil Status, passed with a 76.65 per cent majority, aims to harmonise the legal frameworks on civil status, family records and citizen identity and avoid overlap in State management of ministries and agencies, thus preventing waste.

Confidence vote discussion

Deputies also discussed a draft resolution to amend and supplement Resolution 35/2012/QH13 on confidence votes for officials holding positions elected or approved by the National Assembly and People's Council.

The resolution clearly defines the vote process. However, deputies differed on what levels of confidence ought to be measured by the poll, as well as how frequently the polls should be conducted.

Some proposed applying votes of confidence to heads of provincial departments, as well as district officials.

Deputies also suggested candidates put forward for the votes of confidence declare their assets and incomes and pushed for the establishment of a mechanism for officials with low confidence to step down. — VNS

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