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Monopoly in textbook publishing still exists in Vietnam

Twenty-four out of 32 textbooks chosen by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) belong to the Education Publishing House.

Le Hoang Hai, deputy general director of the Education Publishing House, said the new textbooks will be priced higher than currently because they are better designed, printed on high-quality paper and are 19x26.5 cm size, larger than the currently used books.



However, prices and quality are still unclear. There are only specimen books, but the publishing house has cooperated with local education departments to give training to teachers who will use the new textbooks.

A representative of the publishing house said the plan helps teachers access all the new textbooks of the house so they have more information before choosing textbooks for use in their localities.

Twenty-four out of 32 textbooks chosen by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) belong to the Education Publishing House.

MOET, at a press conference held some days ago, was asked if the Education Publishing House violates the Competition Law as the majority of textbooks chosen by the ministry belong to the house. Questions were also raised about why the publishing house has introduced its textbooks to the public so soon. However, there was no reply from the ministry.

Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy director of the Secondary Education Department, said in the first academic year of applying the new general education program, MOET will issue a circular to help schools and teachers choose textbooks for use.

Councils will be organized at every school and teachers will be consulted on which textbooks to use. As a result, many different textbooks will be used in the same localities.

However, an analyst said that no matter which textbooks will be chosen, it is the Education Publishing House will receive benefits.

According to Nguyen Tat Dong, former deputy head of the Central Propaganda Committee, MOET also needs to come forward and compile its textbooks. In fact, the ministry once intended to do this with experts who wrote the program, had and some other academics.

However, as the ministry was slow to implement the plan, the experts left to cooperate with other publishing houses.

The Education Publishing House has gathered 600 experts to compile textbooks. “In the game, those who are capable will gain market share,” Dong said.

He predicted that in the upcoming years, the textbook market will be exploited not only by the Education Publishing House and another house, but also by other enterprises. By that time, the competition will be fiece.

Regarding the textbook prices, Dong thinks MOET should control the prices in order to avoid unreasonable price escalation. It would be better to show textbooks on the internet for localities to choose for themselves. 

Mai Lan

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