Costly education project debacle causes loss in public confidence
VietNamNet Bridge - Many educational projects capitalized at trillions of dong have failed, but negative consequences have affected generations of students.


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The new general education programming became a hot topic of discussion on education forums after MOET opened the draft frame curriculum for public opinion some days ago.

Many parents have expressed their concern that the new general education programming would once again fail like many other multi-trillion dong reform programs. If so, big money will be lost, while an entire generation of students will be spoiled.

Vietnamese students were once the ‘victims’ of the majoring-based classifying program initiated in 1993. Under the program, high-school students were classified into three groups. A-group were students majoring in natural sciences, while B-group comprised students majoring in technology and C-group social sciences.

Many educational projects capitalized at trillions of dong have failed, but negative consequences have affected generations of students.

In 1998, the program was eliminated when the Education Law was ratified by the National Assembly.

In 2003, the classifying program was re-activated, but with only two majoring groups, A & C. It was expected that 60 percent of students would choose A group and 40 percent C group. However, in fact, 90 percent of students chose A and only 10 percent chose C.

As the pilot program failed, MOET submitted another trial classifying program, under which there were two groups only for 10th and 11th graders, and four groups for 12th graders.

However, when the classification was put into large-scale application, three groups appeared, A, C and D, or the ‘basic group’.

Saying that MOET’s policies were ‘as changeable as the weather’, analysts said that MOET did not have firm argument when laying down the policies, but it did this by ‘feeling’.

In a report in August 2013, Dao Trong Thi, who was then chair of the NA’s Committee for Culture, Education, the Youth and Children, commented that the plan on classifying high school students did not succeed. 

About 84 percent of students follow the D group, while only 14 percent follow the A group and 2 percent C group.

In HCMC, according to Nguyen Van Ngai, deputy director of the city education department, 90 percent of students chose to study basic subjects, and only a few the A group and almost no student chose C group.

Tran Trung Kien, former headmaster of Mac Dinh Chi High School, commented that in principle, MOET should have consulted with students and parents before creating the policies. However, MOET did not do this, but made the decision. As a result, the policies were not appreciated by students.

Do Ngoc Thong, deputy director of the MOET’s Secondary Education Department, admitted that the program on classifying students was ‘too rigid’, and that the three groups did not satisfy students’ aspirations.


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Chi Mai

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