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Textbook controversy discussed at NA, Minister says will increase pressure on appraisal council

Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son, at a Q&A session on November 11, said the ministry would “accompany” publishers and groups of authors in compiling textbooks.


Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son


Nguyen Thi Hue, a National Assembly Deputy from Bac Kan, asked Son for solutions to fix the problems with textbooks on Vietnamese Language and Natural Sciences from the Vietnam Education Publishing House. Some lessons in the texts have been described as not being scientific and educational.

Tran Cong Pham, a National Assembly Deputy from Binh Duong, also asked the Minister to provide more information about the compilation of textbooks.

“Voters complain that there are a lot of mistakes in the textbooks designed for the new general education program. Is it true? If yes, please tell us what should we do to improve the quality,” he said.

Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh from HCM City asked the Minister to give initial assessments about the good and bad aspects of the textbooks for first, second and sixth graders.

More pressure on textbook appraisal council

Son said that, after receiving feedback from the public about the textbook problem, the Professional Council and Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) spoke with the authors about adjusting the content before the textbooks are printed and delivered to students.

In the long term, the ministry is conducting adjustments to ensure that textbooks will have higher quality in the time to come.

Replying to Pham’s question, Son said the quality of textbooks depends on many factors, including the compilers, the compiling process, appraisal, teaching trials and collection of opinions.

MOET is working on the amendment of Circular 33 on the textbook compilation process. In principle, the appraisal council will sit and wait for authors and publishers to submit textbook drafts for verification, but it will supervise and ‘accompany’ the compilers from the very beginning.

According to Son, MOET’s view is that it won’t fully commend the textbook compilation to authors and publishers, but will supervise the compilation to ensure the quality of textbooks.

MOET will heighten the requirements and standards on teachers and scientists compiling textbooks. The compilers won’t be allowed to become members of the appraisal council. It is also considering writing down the names of the members of the appraisal council so as to put more pressure on them.

Experimentation rate

Answering a question from National Assembly Deputy Nguyen Lan Hieu about the required experimentation rate that authors and publishers must have, Son said the applied circular does not stipulate the exact required rate and the ministry has to amend the circular.

It is now collecting opinions from the public for the amendment. MOET plans to set the required experimentation rates of 10, 15 and 20 percent, depending on the content of textbooks. 

Phuong Chi

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