12/10/2018, 14.12
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Harassment, sexual violence, lack of preparation are the scourges of Vietnamese schools

by Hung Quoc

Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers are involved in the problem. For one university lecturer, the " educational system is foggy and has fallen into the abyss." Students and teachers are prisoners of the ideas of socialism imposed by the regime.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Experts are worried about certain trends in Vietnam’s educational system, namely violence in schools (aggressions and sexual abuse: 29 cases last school year), as well as students and teachers who are unprepared.

Education and Training Minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ addressed the issue on 6 June responding to a question from the members of the National Assembly on the current state of public schools.

Since then, national media have noted that one of the reasons for the degradation is teacher input (đầu vào), namely their limited level of experience and poor teaching methods.

Associate Professor Nguyễn Văn L, a former head of the Educational and Psychological Department at Hanoi Pedagogic University, warned that "If we do not deal or overcome these 'wrong directions', they will have unpredictable consequences for the educational system.”

In his view, “The educational environment always needs parallelism and balance between teaching theories and teaching practice and morality. If we ignore one of these two elements, Vietnam’s educational goals cannot be met.”

Since the start of the year, many violent incidents have been reported in Vietnamese schools, involving thousands of students as well as hundreds of teachers. In some cases, students attacked teachers, including women, causing even death.

Official data show at least 29 cases of harassment or sexual violence against educators in the 2017-2018 school year. However, it is feared that the real number is much greater.

For Prof Nguyễn Văn L, "The current state of education in Vietnam is alarming. The numbers show that teachers and pupils lack moral education. It is painful because the educational system is foggy and has fallen into the abyss."

Mr Loi, a lecturer at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, notes that "All our students must study and pass Marxism-Leninism to graduate. This is backward and out of touch.”

“From the age of six, a child must spend 12 years in a socialist school,” he adds. This is followed by “four years of university education under the socialist-oriented system."

Prof Do, who teaches sociology in Hanoi, emphasises that "the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) has not opened the door to good theories and ideas from other countries. They just focus on the ideas of socialism and Party management."

For many analysts, Vietnamese youth have lost their "moral compass" and have appeared increasingly disoriented in their lives in recent years.

Ms Thu, a former teacher in the capital, says: "The young generation must learn in a decent educational environment. This [existing] education has created teachers who are not qualified in educational fields and teaching methods. They are and are not teachers: they teach their students the way they themselves learnt. This vicious circle passes from one generation to another."

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