VietNamNet Bridge – The experts from the Hanoi University of Education believe that primary school students should be given time to learn useful knowledge instead of practicing writing.


Dr. Vu Thu Huong, a lecturer of the Primary Education Faculty of the Hanoi University of Education, said that handwriting and mental calculation practicing put a heavy burden on students’ shoulders which need to be lifted.

Huong noted that most Vietnamese write a good hand and can calculate in heads very quickly. However, these are just the skills, not really useful, while it always takes students too much time to practice the skills.

Huong, who spent a lot of time to learn about the education programs applied in the UK, Germany, Hungary and France, has found that foreign people do not attach too much importance to math and native language.

In the countries, first graders there are taught to do the addition and subtraction with calculators or digital devices. General school students do not have to do many exercises. Therefore, it is not too hard for students to learn math, while practicing handwriting is also not an important subject.

The schools in the countries spend time on teaching science subjects including geography, biology, physics or chemistry. Students also learn about the culture of the nations and life skills, the very necessary things to help students grow up into knowledgeable citizens.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese general students have bad knowledge about the world and the things around them. Vietnamese parents, who all want their children to obtain higher education, always force their children to spend time on learning and doing math exercises.

Huong noted that it is unreasonable to assess students’ ability by considering their handwriting. As a result, students feel ashamed if they have bad writing. The school curriculums spend unreasonable too much time on practicing writing and mental calculation.

A primary school student has five math lessons and 8 Vietnamese language lessons a week. Meanwhile, he only has time for one or two lessons a week on the other science subjects, which are considered “auxiliary.”

In Vietnam, the best students are the ones who are good at math and Vietnamese language. Meanwhile, the achievements of the students in arts, music or physical exercises are just for reference.

As a result, teachers and students only focus on math and language lessons, while other necessary learning subjects have been disregarded.

Associate Professor Nguyen Huu Hop from the Hanoi University of Education, while agreeing that it would be better to remove the handwriting and mental calculation practices, has warned that the required hard practices can cause serious consequences.

Once students are asked to write well, they would focus on the writing, not on the thinking. Meanwhile, the top priority of education is to create clever students.

Also according to Hop, it is a hard work for children to write well with their physical conditions at the ages of 5-6. If they have to learn hard, their bone, muscle and nerve systems would be badly affected.

Hop has found that handwriting practicing was the reason behind the students’ bad characters. Students may get grouchy, tired of learning or have incorrect behaviors as the protest against teachers and parents.

Thanh Mai