Experts warn against textbooks compiled locally
VietNamNet Bridge - Teachers and students in localities may have to accept textbooks compiled by local education departments.
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Some days ago, a local newspaper reported that the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) planned to compile two sets of textbooks specifically designed for students in the south and in the north.

MOET’s Deputy Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien on February 15 denied the rumour, affirming that the ministry does not have the intention to design two sets of textbooks for students in the north and the south.

Hien reaffirmed the principle ‘one program, many sets of textbook’, under which MOET sets up the frame of program, while individuals and institutions compile many textbooks based on the program. 

This is a part of the national program on general education renovation.

However, though MOET has denied that textbooks for the north and south will be used, they worry the ‘localization of textbooks’ still exists.  

“There is no smoke without fire,” an analyst noted. 

Teachers and students in localities may have to accept textbooks compiled by local education departments.
Many educators in HCM City repeatedly said that the textbooks of MOET’s Education Publishing House are ‘unsuitable to students’ in HCM City and called on to compile textbooks specifically for students in the city.

The analyst, while affirming that it was a good policy to encourage all institutions and individuals to compile textbooks, has warned that the ‘localism’ may spoil the good policy.

The headmaster of a high school in HCM City has warned that local education departments may compile textbooks themselves for the schools in their localities, while students and teachers in the localities won’t dare use the textbooks published by other localities.

“I am afraid that local education departments would write textbooks themselves or assign some authors to write textbooks and force schools to use the textbooks written by the authors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cao Huy Thao, former headmaster of the Vietnam-Australia International High School, expressing his worry about the quality of textbooks for general education, said that all textbooks must strictly follow the frame curriculum to be defined by MOET. This would ensure that students all over the country can follow unique curricula and receive necessary knowledge. 

An education expert said MOET needs to set up a mechanism to ensure fairness for all compilers.

“I heard that the Education Publishing House will also release textbooks. If so, students will prioritize to buy textbooks of the house, because the house is under the management of MOET,” he said.

“The Education Publishing House should be seen as just a competitor, like the other publishing houses and other authors,” he said.
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