How will the math curriculum change after 2017?

Last update: 07:20 | 22/08/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - The new mathematics curriculum is based on four elements, “streamline, practice, modernity and creativity”, according to Do Duc Thai, a member of the Committee for General Education Curriculum Development, and chief editor of the math curriculum compilation division.


Mr Do Duc Thai

He said that many units of knowledge in the old curriculum had become unnecessary and needed to be cut.

“We are now trying to get to the finish with the shortest and simplest possible way which fits students’ psychological development,” he said. “We must know what role the units of knowledge will play in the path which leads us. If the answer is unclear, the units must be excluded.”

Van Nhu Cuong, president of the Luong The Vinh High School  in Hanoi,  a renowned educator, said that the current math curriculum is too heavy and includes issues which students won’t use in the future.

The new mathematics curriculum is based on four elements, “streamline, practice, modernity and creativity” 
Thai shares the same view. “I am amazed when looking at university entrance exam questions. Student are asked to solve the in-equations, exponential logarithm equations, integral or trigonometry which I believe won’t be useful for them in their lives,” Thai said.

Thai found very difficult questions in the math textbook designed for fourth year students. Similar questions are designed for sixth or seventh graders in other countries.

“One of my nephews found it very difficult to pronounce my name when he was 12 months old. But just two months later, he could do this very easily. This shows that many things can be difficult for students, but will be very easy for them tomorrow. So why do we ask students to solve the difficult questions now?” he said.

Thai believes that the newest point of the new math curriculum is shifting focus from the content approach to the learners’ capability. He also said that students should not learn just to sit exams.

Thai noted that Vietnamese students excel at competitions. Twenty-six first prizes in a math competition for primary school students were granted in 2016, of which 11 were won by Vietnamese students.

With four gold medals, one silver and one bronze, the Vietnamese team at the 2017 IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad) gained the highest achievements since the day Vietnam began participating in the competitions 47 years ago.

However, though winning high prizes at international competitions, Vietnam left no imprint on mathematics and science until the presence of Fields Medal winner Ngo Bao Chau. It is not clear when Vietnam will have another Chau.
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