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New general education program: 11 textbooks for one subject

In the 2022-2023 academic year, 10th graders will study fine arts with a set of 11 textbooks.

Under a decision on textbooks for 10th graders at education establishments under the new general education program approved by the Minister of Education and Training, students will have only one set of textbooks for Fine Arts, from ‘Ket noi tri thuc va cuoc song’ (Knowledge and Life) books published by the Vietnam Education Publishing House.

Though the new general education program follows the principle ‘one curriculum, many textbooks’ which breaks the monopoly in textbook compilation and publication, there will be only one choice for Fine Arts.

However, the set of textbooks for Fine Arts has up to 11 books, each of which focuses on one topic – Painting; Architecture; Multi-media art design; Theory and history of arts; Printed graphics; Sculpture; Fashion Designer; Graphic design; Industrial design; Theater and cinema art design.

This means that there is only one textbook for one subject, but there are up to 11 textbooks for Fine Arts. This is the subject with the highest number of books.

The question is why there are so many books for just for one subject. The number of books required for Fine Arts is even higher than for Mathematics and Literature, important subjects which have a high number of teaching periods (with only 2-3 books). 

Meanwhile, integrating textbooks is a trend. At the secondary level, for example, there is only one textbook for both history and geography.

Nguyen Thi Dong, chief editor of the curriculum for Fine Arts, said there are 10 optional requirements, including Theory and history of art; Painting; Graphics (prints); Sculpture; Industrial design; Graphic design; Fashion Design; Theater and cinema art design; Multi-media art design; and Architecture.

Of these, students can choose four contents to study. This means that students will have to buy at least four textbooks, corresponding to at least four contents.

“Textbooks must be compiled based on the overall curriculum, and the number of textbooks is determined and designed by publishing houses,” she explained, adding that the publishing house may think that there should be one textbook for each content.

“If only one textbook has all 10 contents, students would have to pay for all 10 contents, though they may only need four,” she said.

A representative of the Vietnam Education Publishing House said that separate books for each content will help students practice thrift as they don’t have to buy textbooks with the content they will not need.

Hai Nguyen

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