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Teachers alert youth to decline in reading culture

VietNamNet Bridge - Educators say that students are not reading books, resulting in increased violence, poor understanding of people and the world, and less empathy.
VietNamNet Bridge - Educators say that students are not reading books, resulting in increased violence, poor understanding of people and the world, and less empathy.


“The decline in reading culture of Vietnamese in general and students in particular has become worrying,” Do Tan Ngoc, a teacher, wrote in an email to Giao Duc Viet Nam editorial board.

A report released on the occasion of the 2013 Book Day showed that each Vietnamese reads 0.8 books a year, a very low level compared with other regional countries.

Reasons cited to explain the problem included the high prices of books, the low quality of books and scarcity of books at libraries (0.35 copies per head).

However, Ngoc believes the major problem lies in the fact that students nowadays don’t think they need to read books to accumulate knowledge.

Students prefer playing games, accessing Facebook, attending parties and going to discotheque halls.

Students prefer playing games, accessing Facebook, attending parties and going to discotheque halls.

Ngoc said his school has a large library with thousands of books to serve 1,300 students, but the library is always deserted. 

The library manager said the library received tens of students on the first days since it opened, but now only several students come daily.

In fact, deserted libraries not only can be seen at Ngoc’s school, but at most general schools in all cities and provinces.

A university lecturer in Hanoi said many universities and junior colleges spent hundreds of billions of dong to build modern libraries and reading rooms, but still cannot attract students.

“Students only go to libraries in June and December, when they have to prepare for semester exams. They do not go there in the other months, because they are busy going to parties and doing extra work to earn money,” he commented.

“Internet rooms at libraries are the places which can attract students. However, most students go there just to use internet free of charge. They access the internet to seek information about restaurants, festivals, not to read for knowledge,” he said. 

Truong Khac Tra, a renowned educator, commented that while Vietnamese do not regret spending money on beer, they think carefully before spending money on books. 

A report released by the Publishing, Printing & Distribution Agency showed that the revenue from publications last year was VND2 trillion, just equal to 1/33 of revenue from beer sales.

Tra also cited other statistics to show the real situation in Vietnam: nearly 30 million Vietnamese never read books, and 44 percent read books occasionally. This occurs in a country with 480 universities and hundreds of research institutes.



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