“Better education way to ‘demographic bonus’ benefits”

Vietnam’s educational system must focus more on encouraging innovation and creativity to make the most of Vietnam’s vast working age population, which is more than double its dependent population, a European expert said.

 While this VietnamNet article from 19.2.10 mixes apples and oranges by including a reference to Vietnam’s gender imbalance problem (i.e., the SRB, or sex ratio at birth is 111 boys per 100 girls in 2009 and 115.3 boys per 100 girls in the Red River Delta), it also offers a good overview of important issues that are frequently discussed in the Vietnamese media and in educational circles.  These include the need for a well-trained and flexible workforce and the following features of a top-down education system that “militate against fostering creative, innovative and solution-oriented capabilities” in the words of Oscar Salemink, Professor of Social Anthropology at the VU University Amsterdam. 

  • fixed curricula
  • rote learning
  • exams that test the ability to reproduce rather than think creatively
  • the politicization of the management of schools and universities, “meaning that appointments, promotions and leadership positions were determined as much as political connections as by substantive criteria”

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