08/24/2015, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Vietnamese Church at forefront of calls for democratic and multicultural reform of education

by Nguyen Hung

To denounce inadequacy of education system, the Redemptorists of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh celebrated Masses and prayers. At least 7 thousand people took part in the functions of the weekend. Criticism of the education "one-way" system touted by the Communist Party. 90% of young people have no faith in the current system.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – In an attempt to highlight the inadequacies and misrepresentations present in national education, the Redemptorists of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City celebrated Masses and prayers for civil society and the country.

Yesterday at least 7 thousand people, Catholic and non, and hundreds of representatives of local administrations attended to the special functions in the capital and in the former Saigon. At the center of the battle launched by students, civil society and religious leaders - the Church in the front row - the criteria used to draw up the university entrance exams for the academic year 2015-2016 and the school curriculum, still based on the socialist model.

Even today the education system offers a " one way point of view " indicated by the Party, which is a source of controversy and strong resentment for students. According to a recent survey, about 90% of young people have no faith in the current model and would like a drastic change, with an open mind attitude to discussion.

Speaking to AsiaNews, a group of students at the University of Pedagogy confirms that "we cannot express different opinions, even about the content and methods of teaching." Particularly in subjects such as social sciences, teachers and professors use the socialist vision, point to Marxism and the thought of Ho Chi Minh City.

Students "love school," the young people claim because through education " their lives can be changed for the better,  they can help their families and society." "The social structure is bankrupt and in bad faith –they  add – and leads to corruption and moral degradation, even in the education system." And some subjects, they complain, are "politicized" and force them to learn " out dated and wrong theories."

The government had recently launched a campaign in defense of the educational model, led by Education Minister Luan Pham Vũ, that "the reform of education is a 'big battle' for the school year 2015-16." Other than the opinion of young people, who have promoted protests and demonstrations outside the headquarters of the ministry; at the same time they ensure their full willingness to cooperate with the experts for a shared-ministerial reform.

The students are joined by the leaders of the Vietnamese Catholic Church, fighting for a democratic and multicultural reform of education. Moreover, the issue of education has emerged in the recent trip to the United States of Msgr. Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, bishop of Thanh Hoa, in the northern coastal area.

 In a public meeting scheduled for August 17, the prelate said that "within the Vietnamese totalitarian regime, religions and Catholicism in particular continue to face discrimination. Catholics fail to promote a firm commitment in the areas of education, healthcare ... There are not really present in the field of public administration, except for a small minority. "

"However - he added - we are convinced that the nation will soon change. And quickly. The Vietnamese people have the right to participate equally in the administrative, political, economic, social, cultural and educational life of the country. " The construction of the nation, the prelate concluded, belongs to the people ... and religions must regain the "right" to actively and positively participate in all areas and at all levels.

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