Last update: 09:00 | 29/08/2013
VietNamNet Bridge – 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.
Pham Do Nhat Tien, former assistant to the Minister of Education and Training, said Vietnamese education had grown in size rather than in depth, adding that while economic development had provided a boost, the quality of the sector remained poor. — Photo lucyen
The conference was held to promote exchanges between key members of Viet Nam's education sector and promote best practice in lifting education quality.
Pham Do Nhat Tien, former assistant to the Minister of Education and Training, said Vietnamese education had grown in size rather than in depth, adding that while economic development had provided a boost, the quality of the sector remained poor.
"The quality of Vietnamese education is still lagging behind the requirements of international integration and public expectations."
Tien said weaknesses were being felt across the vocational, higher education and continuing education sectors.
"Education is basically a black box," he said.
Participants agreed with Tien's assessment, stressing greater attention needed to be given to continuing education rather than formal education.
Tien reminded participants of the Government's endeavour to commit 6 percent of the total budget to education, adding it was yet to do so.
Tien specified that current spending on continuing education - which includes programmes such as non-degree career training, on-the-job training, personal enrichment courses and self-directed learning - made up 2 per cent of the total budget.
In a bid to review the lagging education sector, one participant suggested further clarity was needed on the current scheme of central management and education spending.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Duc Son, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy at the Ha Noi National University of Education, said education should focus more on human values, improving students' self-motivation and living skills rather than just academic knowledge.
"Improving educational quality should not be assessed purely from student grades, but more importantly, on the development of core competencies," he said.
In response, another participant urged that schools needed to organise more social activities for students to foster forward-thinking, creativity and pro-activeness.
Urging reform, teachers at the conference raised concerns over shortages, particularly at the kindergarten and higher education levels.
Nguyen Thuy Hong, Deputy Director of the Department of Teachers and Management Officials for Educational Institutions under the Ministry of Education and Training, said teacher shortages were worst felt in remote areas and needed to be addressed urgently.
Nguyen Quang Huy from the Department of Education and Training in Phu Tho Province attributed the situation to a lack of financial incentives, pushing for better pay for teachers, particularly in kindergartens.
Worryingly, evidence produced showed teachers were losing motivation to teach and professional qualifications failed to meet the requirements of the education curriculum, according to Tien.
"Teacher training reforms in teacher training colleges should go hand-in-hand with salary reform for them."