return icon

STEM should be core to education system: expert

The subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have traditionally been taught as separate subjects, isolated from real-world applications. Viet Nam is now trying to change that. 

VietNamNet Bridge – The subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have traditionally been taught as separate subjects, isolated from real-world applications. Viet Nam is now trying to change that. Do Hoang Son, a member of the Organising Board for STEM 2017 talks to the newspaper Kinh te & Do thi (Economics and Urban Affairs) about leaders’ important role in expanding and improving STEM education in all schools nation-wide.


Do Hoang Son.

Why do you say Ha Noi is the nation’s “heart” of STEM education?

The concept of STEM education is still new in our country.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

In the last few years, Ha Noi has taken the lead in STEM education nation-wide. In all major national STEM competitions for secondary schools in the last few years, Ha Noi ranked first, winning the highest marks. The city has created new criteria in STEM education and then shared their experiences with other localities. For example, three years ago, we shared our experiences gained from the Science Club of the 6th and 7th graders at the Ha Noi Amsterdam Gifted Student School with 96 primary and secondary schools in Thai Thuy District of Thai Binh Province in the Red River Delta. And more recently, lecturers from Ha Noi National University, University of Electricity and teachers from the Trung Vuong Secondary School have run many training courses on STEM for almost 400 teachers in Thanh Chuong District, Nghe An Province.

You have been involved in STEM education for many years. In your opinion, how is the interdisciplinary, applied approach being utilised in Ha Noi?

I should say after four years, many STEM clubs have been set up in many secondary schools in Ha Noi. In my own observation, both the students and the teachers have expressed their inspiration to join the STEM clubs. They have learned quite a lot of new knowledge and gained real-life problem-solving skills.

Based on lessons learned in the pilot schools, don’t you think that the STEM approach should be applied in all schools in Ha Noi?

If we introduce STEM to all schools in Ha Noi, it will be a big challenge for the city’s education and training sector. But I’m confident that it is time for Ha Noi to introduce STEM to all schools in the city. To my knowledge, at present, some precincts and districts have started to introduce STEM in schools in their localities. These include Ba Dinh and Hoan Kiem, Bac Tu Liem District and others. Of course, the level of application varies from one school to another. Fourteen schools organised STEM training courses for their teachers before the 2017-2018 new school year start. However, in my own opinion, a very important element to ensure the success of STEM is the active involvement of the school head masters. That’s why we should organise special trainings for them to help them thoroughly understand STEM and its requirements.

Do you have any recommendations for the Ha Noi authorities before they apply STEM on a large scale?

In my opinion, the city should adopt a coherent strategy on STEM education. For example, the city authorities can issue a resolution on applying STEM in all schools with very specific objects, similar to the issuance of the Directive 16 by PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the 4.0 Revolution [the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, based on new and rapidly developing digital technologies].

Ha Noi has some 100,000 school teachers and they should all attend special courses on STEM before their schools begin implementing it. In my opinion, Ha Noi should learn from the experiences of Thanh Chuong District, Nghe An Province where all 88 schools ranging from primary to junior and high schools have applied STEM. 


related news


VND85 trillion buried in unused wind power turbines

“You would feel tormented if you saw a vast field of wind turbines, each of which is worth VND150 billion, standing still for the last year,” a renewable-energy investor said.

Central region targets Indian tourists

Taking full advantage of non-stop air routes from New Delhi and Mumbai to Da Nang which were just launched in late 2022, the central provinces of Da Nang, Quang Nam and Hue are running a race to lure Indian travelers.

Credit Suisse escapes ‘Lehman moment’, Vietnam unaffected

Vietnam’s economy is well supported by its policy, but headwinds in the world’s financial market, with risks from the European and American financial systems, have caused concern.

Dien Bien airport to be closed for upgrade next month

Dien Bien Airport in the mountainous province of Dien Bien will cease operations in mid-April for upgrade, the local media reported.

Young people scammed by jobs that seem too good to be true

That’s the warning from authorities after a spate of online recruitment scams targeting young people offering ‘high incomes and easy jobs’.

Proposal to connect excess biogas power to national grid

Large-scale livestock farms using biogas technology report that they are only able to utilize about 20-30 percent of the electricity generated from biogas, with the remainder going to waste due to a lack of suitable consumption options.

Vietnamese coffee finds ways to gain foothold in RoK market

Supporting start-ups in building coffee shops in the Republic of Korea (RoK) is among the recommendations by the Vietnam Trade Office in the RoK to help spread the Vietnamese coffee culture in this country.

Chickenpox cases soaring in Hanoi, mostly in children

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Hanoi yesterday reported that the capital city of Hanoi had 70 cases of chickenpox last week.

Vietnamese fashion designer introduces 100 Ao Dai designs in Rome

Leading Vietnamese fashion designer Minh Hanh is set to showcase her collection of 100 Ao Dai (traditional long dress) at the heritage space of Mercati Di Traiano in Rome on March 31.

VN boxer through to Women’s World Boxing Championships’ quarter-finals

Vietnamese fighter Nguyen Thi Tam has progressed to the quarter-finals of the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships, which is getting underway in New Delhi, India.

VN textile, garment firms switching to green production

Textile and garment businesses in Vietnam are taking steps to switch to green production to meet partners’ demand and achieve sustainable development, the Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper reported.

Vietnam – fourth biggest rubber supplier of RoK

Vietnam was the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s fourth largest supplier of rubber in the first two months of 2023, according to the Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Brand-new automobiles to be exempt from first mechanical check

Brand-new automobiles will be exempt from the first mechanical check under a revised circular on technical safety and environmental protection promulgated by the Ministry of Transport.

Ministry proposes extending visa-free stay to 30 days, e-visa to 90 days

E-visa holders might be able to stay in Vietnam for up to 90 days, three times longer than the current 30 days, according to a proposed amended Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit Through, and Residence in Vietnam.