Curricula at the heart of $3.3 bil education proposal

Published: 10/06/2011 05:00



A new school curriculum is being planned in an effort to
comprehensively revamp the education system, the Ministry of Education and
Training said.

Brand new text books
are planned to be introduced in the 2017-18 academic year as part of a
comprehensive education renewal.
(Photo: VNS)

Secondary Education
Department director Vu Dinh Chuan said the ministry was drafting a plan that
would cost VND70 trillion (US$3.3 billion) to implement over six years.

But only $45.7
million, or 1.4 per cent of the budget, would be spent on designing the new
curricula and compiling new text books. The rest would be used for training
teachers and managers as well as upgrading school infrastructure to best serve
the renewal.

The new curriculum
would be “skill-based” and “student-centred” instead of the current “teaching
content-based” and “teacher-centred” programmes, Chuan said.

“The new curriculum
will highlight the skills children need to have in life,” Chuan said. “All
lectures and exams will promote self-learning and problem-solving abilities,
both in the academic environment and in real life, plus necessary life skills.

“Children will have
more practical slots and less academic lessons than they do now.

“The new curriculum
is not aimed to equip students with so much knowledge but rather to enable
students to develop their logical abilities and learning skills.”

The changes follow
criticism of the current school curriculum by parents and students at all

“My daughter has to
study too much now, much harder than I did when I was at school. She has no time
to relax. That’s unacceptable,” said Bui Minh Phuong, mother of a grade 9

Nguyen Van Binh,
father of a 17-year-old boy, said a lot of knowledge that his son was learning
at school was “of no use in real life”.

“A comprehensive
change in the curriculum is necessary to better nurture the young generation,”
he said.

Schoolgirl Hoang
Phuong Linh, 8, said she gets bored with school because she has to “learn by
heart” while art lessons, which she really like merely don’t exist at her public
school in Ha Noi.

Chuan said renewing
school curricula and text books was done regularly in every country.

“Science and
technology is galloping ahead, changing all aspects of life, including
education. Therefore, school curricula in developed countries are usually
reviewed and adapted every 7-10 years,” he said.

“Renewing curricula
and text books by 2017 is appropriate in the world’s context and will meet new
demands for human resources in Viet Nam.”

However, teacher Van
Nhu Cuong suggested cutting the current curriculum by one third would be enough
and would save the cost of a new one.

Retired teacher Hoang
Hoai Nhon said the curriculum and text books had changed about every 10 years
since she started working as a teacher in early 1970s but had got even worse in
some key subjects, such as Vietnamese.

“That’s why children
now are sadly worse in their own language,” she said.

Nam News

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