Education Ministry plans to teach students about island, border wars

VietNamNet Bridge - Historians and textbook compilers have applauded the Ministry of Education and Training’s (MOET) decision to add lessons about the island and border wars into the history curriculum designed for general education.


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The war to protect the border areas in the north of Vietnam in February 1979 is mentioned in the history book for 12th graders. However, all the details about the war take up only 11 lines on page 207 of the 224-page book. 

The book says that the Chinese administration took many actions that harmed the friendship between the Vietnamese and Chinese armies and people. 

On February 17, 1979, the Chinese Army deployed 32 divisions and began attacks along the Vietnam-China border in the provinces from Mong Cai in Quang Ninh province to Phong Tho in Lai Chau. 

In order to protect the fatherland, Vietnamese army and people, especially the people in the six northern provinces, rose up to struggle against the invaders. On March 18, 1979, Chinese troops withdrew from Vietnam.

Tran Trung Hieu, a history teacher from the Phan Boi Chau High School for the Gifted, commented that it was unreasonable to talk about such an important historical event in a summary account.

Just 200 words were not enough to talk about a war.

A high school teacher in Hanoi also said that just 200 words were not enough to talk about a war.

“Students cannot understand the nature of the war, the causes and the outcome of the Vietnamese resistance against the invaders,” he said.

“If students cannot receive sufficient knowledge about the war, we will be guilty of not telling all about history,” he said.

The teacher went on to say that he was sure that many high school graduates had never heard about the war in the northern border areas in 1979.

He said that students should be taught about the Vietnamese island and border wars to protect the fatherland as soon as possible. 

While waiting for the new lessons about information about wars to be compiled and added into textbooks, MOET should release documents to guide schools and teachers to give the lessons to students.

Teachers need to be shown what they should do to organize teaching hours and extracurricular activities to talk to students about the wars and about Vietnamese sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes as well.

Dr Vu Minh Giang, deputy chair of the Vietnam History Science Association, said that it was impossible to mention all historic events in textbooks for general schools. 

However, Giang agrees that it is necessary to teach students about the southwest and the north border wars – the big wars.

“MOET has made it right. However, it is a bit late,” Giang said.

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