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Textbooks for new education program: hot topic at ongoing National Assembly session

Compiling and distributing textbooks is not a new issue, but it is always controversial.
National Assembly Deputy Chau Quynh Dao from An Giang Province.

There are three problems with textbooks that National Assembly’s deputies have mentioned.

First, current textbook prices are too high. Nguyen Anh Tri, a National Assembly deputy, said the high prices put a burden on people, especially on  families with many children going to school, and poor families.

Why are textbook prices so high? The answer from Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc showed the current situation. In the past, the state spent money on compiling and appraising textbooks, so textbooks were cheap. But the subsidy scheme has ended. And textbook prices have increased. 

Second, there is no clear direction about the use of reference textbooks, which also raises expenses of families.

Third, students cannot use old textbooks left by their elder brothers and sisters because students have to do exercises on certain pages of textbooks.

National Assembly deputies have suggested solutions to the problems.

According to deputy Phan Viet Luong of the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture and Education, some years ago, the committee released a report about textbook prices, while the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and the Ministry of FInance (MOF) suggested strengthening textbook prices.

National Assembly Deputy Chau Quynh Dao said that two years ago, the committee and MOET asked MOF to consider and ask for permission to add textbooks into the list of commodities to be controlled in prices.

The process for adding textbooks into the list of goods for price stabilization would be as follows: MOF and MOET submit the proposal to the government, which then submits it to the National Assembly Standing Committee and the National Assembly will make decision. Accordingly, the Law on Prices will need to be amended and this takes time. 

As such, students and their parents would have to wait one or two years to see textbooks to be a subject for price stabilization.

Dinh Duy Hoa

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