“Vietnam battles with poor quality education”

Viet Nam’s education system is grappling with substandard training and dire shortage of teachers, according to a conference held in Ha Noi last week.

This lead-off sentence in a 29 August article about the state of Vietnam’s educational system pretty much sums it up, as another new school year begins.  Pham Do Nhat Tien, former assistant to the Minister of Education and Training, put it this way:  “Education is basically a black box.”  One definition of a black box is “anything that has mysterious or unknown internal functions or mechanisms.”  Dr. Tien also noted that the educational system has grown in size rather than depth (i.e., quantity over quality).

Here’s a laundry list of items that conference participants identified as being in desperate need of attention and remediation “across the vocational, higher education and continuing education sectors”:

  • substandard training
  • teacher shortage due to low salaries and a lack of other incentives
  • the gap between reality and “the requirements of international integration and public expectations”
  • pay more attention to continuing education, including non-degree career training, on-the-job training, personal enrichment courses and self-directed learning
  • focus more on human values, improving students’ self-motivation and life skills rather than just academic knowledge
  • measure and improve educational quality Improving educational quality not solely on the basis of student grades but also on the development of core competencies
  • increase spending to 6% of the total government budget, as planned

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