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English textbooks not yet approved by Education Ministry, why?

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has published 32 textbooks for eight subjects and experience activities, but these do not include textbooks for English.

According to Tien Phong, at the workshop titled ‘Vietnam Education Publishing House and the task of renovating general education program and textbooks’, in the North, the publisher introduced four sets of sample textbooks which have been approved by the Appraisal Council.

 

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These include textbooks for English. In the set of textbooks of the Vietnam Education Publishing House, the English textbooks are ‘Family and Friends’ (National Edition) and ‘Student book’ written by Naomi Simmons, the Oxford University Publishing House.

A teacher of English said the book has been used widely in Vietnam for the last 10 years. It would be good if the book can satisfy the requirements of the new general education program. However, this will still depend on many things.

Article 5 of Circular No 33 on standards, process of compiling and editing textbooks, says that textbooks must properly and fully present the content of learning subject curricula or educational activities; and they must be basic, scientific, practical and consistent with the reality of Vietnam.

Article 5 of Circular No 33 on standards, process of compiling and editing textbooks, says that textbooks must properly and fully present the content of learning subject curricula or educational activities; and they must be basic, scientific, practical and consistent with the reality of Vietnam.

Therefore, there must be specific regulations and standards on using foreign textbooks for Vietnam’s schools. If using foreign books, publishing houses only cooperate with foreign publishers to make a profit.

Meanwhile, the textbook compilation process is quite different: there must be drafting, experiment and appraisal as stipulated in Article 9 of Circular 33.

If Vietnam just needs to import foreign books to use at general schools, the Ministry of Information and Communication won’t have to approve. Vietnam will have 7 publishing houses eligible for publishing textbooks.

Asked why MOET still has not approved textbooks for English, Thai Van Tai, director of the Primary Education Department, said the 32 approved textbooks are for compulsory learning subjects, while the six draft textbooks for English are for optional subjects (for the first and second graders) and they will be considered later.

However, Tien Phong reported that a legal problem has arisen because the majority of the draft textbooks for English for first graders were compiled by foreign authors. Therefore, MOET has asked publishing houses to find chief Vietnamese authors.

MOET requested the chief authors because Circular 33 stipulates that the compilers of textbooks must ‘have full civil rights and good moral qualities’.

Regarding the textbook appraisal council, the circular stipulates that at least 1/3 of the members of the council must be teachers of these subjects. The number of the council’s members is an odd number, at least seven.

Tai, when answering the local press, said the members of the council represent different regions of the country. 

Mai Lan

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