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Oct 19, 2020 / 08:51

New first-grade textbooks cause public resentment in Vietnam

The book's authors have been criticized for using dialects or vague words that are strange to many first graders, so teachers found it difficult to explain them.

Vietnam’s prime minister has recently asked a national textbook assessment council to review the first-grade textbooks over concerns their content is inappropriate for first-graders and causes public resentment in the country, local media reported.

The set of textbooks, titled “Canh dieu” (Kite), is part of the new general education curriculum which Vietnam first adopted this academic year. However, more than a month since the new school year started, teachers and parents have raised concerns over their educational value.

Two-thirds of the textbooks authors were those who drafted the new national universal education curriculum and the content of the first-grade Vietnamese language textbooks of “Canh dieu” is quite similar to the previous ones.

 New first-grade textbooks cause public resentment. Photo: Kinhtedothi.vn

For example, parables are used in the textbook to help students practice syllables and consonants but some stories are cut short or modified to be suitable for children of first grade, resulting in misunderstandings or vague sentences.

The book's authors have also been criticized for using dialects or vague words that are strange to many first graders, so teachers found it difficult to explain them.

Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, chief editor of the new national universal education curriculum and lead editor of “Canh dieu”, expressed his hope that people can read the textbooks carefully and get to know about teaching first-graders before judging the authors.

“We would listen and make necessary corrections after getting feedback from teachers and students. I believe students’ parents could see the books work. It’s necessary to mend the incorrect parts but the corrections also need consideration and a clear roadmap,” Mr. Thuyet said.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on October 12 said divergence of opinions over the new textbook showed the public is highly concerned about children's education and people all share the desire to have textbooks that meet teaching and learning requirements.

Mr. Dam asked the education ministry to listen to contributions and adjust the textbooks set to improve its quality.

The deputy PM also asked for adjustments and additions to regulations relating to the editing, assessment and approval of textbooks as well as instructing teachers to use them effectively.

“Besides the national textbook assessment council, candidate textbooks should be made available online so teachers, experts and students’ families could easily read them and at least mistakes could be found and corrected early,” Mr. Dam said.

Earlier, many teachers say they have to “struggle” with the teaching plan for first graders, and feel worried that those in upland and disadvantaged areas would not be able to swallow the heavy contents of the textbooks.

On education forums, one can read the complaints by parents about the difficulty of the curriculum for first graders, which is being used under the new universal education program.

The parents also said they find it hard to coach children because the new curriculum is quite burdensome for six-year-old children.