It is the speech of Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ in the Education World Forum and Global Education Fair taking place in London, the UK with the participation of more than 1,200 delegates from nearly 100 countries, territories and international organizations.
Vietnam does not have inequality in approach education and education results
When speaking of Vietnam’s education at the Education World Forum, Minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ mentioned equality, investment in education and efficiency.
In terms of equality, the Minister said that Vietnam had well expanded school network, completed universalizing education at preschool level for 5-year-old children, at primary and secondary levels. Localities also had priority policies, creating opportunities for ethnic minority children and children with particularly miserable circumstances to approach education. Statistics showed that Vietnam had no inequality in gender, approach to education and education results.
In terms of state investment, Vietnam currently spends 5.8% of GDP on education, if including families’ contribution, the figure reaches 8% of GDP. This figure shows the interest in education of every Vietnamese family and explains the success of education. In recent years, Vietnam’s investment in education has been increasing, maintaining 20% of total budget expenditure.
In terms of efficiency, Vietnam’s education has recently gained remarkable results. According to PISA result in 2015, Vietnam ranked 8th in Science, 22nd in Mathematics and 30th in reading comprehension. Besides, an analysis of the relationship between investment for students aged 6-12 and their results by PISA assessment showed that Vietnam was considered as one of the countries with high efficiency in educational investment.
Not only in mass education but also in spearhead education, Vietnam has always achieved high results. Vietnam is always in Top 10 regarding the results of science subjects in International distinguished student examinations.
However, according to the Minister, it should be recognized that Vietnam’s education still remains many challenges such as: the dropout rate of senior students at secondary schools in difficult areas remains high; over 80% spending on education is through local budget, so the effectiveness of the investment depends on local interest in education. In fact, some localities have not really invested in education effectively; Vietnamese students have got high results in examinations but their skills and studying motivation were still limited.
Emphasizing on the practicality of education for students, the Minister said that to make students’ learning process practical and efficient, it needs the engagement of not only school but the co-ordination of school-family-society.
“What students learn” instead of “What teachers teach”
Taking an example in Vietnam, Minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ mentioned the renovation in assessment of primary school students. To him, it is parents’ high expectation for their children and school’s too heavy emphasis on students’ results that cause pressure and stress on children. Learning only revolves around scores, causing students to lose their curiosity, eagerness for learning, dare not challenge, fear the wrongness and enjoy to be in safety circle.
The policy of renovating primary school student assessment introduced by the Ministry of Education and Training since 2014 focused on the learning process, promoted students’ capacity rather than only focusing on scores. This policy aims at making students to be happy and enjoyable at school.
Looking back 4 years of renovating primary school student assessment in Vietnam, the Minister affirmed that parents were interested and involved more in children’ learning process instead of only focusing on scores. Teachers concentrated on “what students learn” instead of “what teachers teach.” The school had interest in making itself become an environment that stimulated children’ learning process and nurtured their love for studying.
Quoting an African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child,” the Head of Vietnam’s Education sent a message to the Education World Forum: teachers, parents, school and society should pursue a common goal that is to do the best for their children and students. The effective co-ordination among all sides will bring about practicality and efficiency for education, for the development of education in each country, including Vietnam.
The Education World Forum is an annual activity held for the past 16 years. This year, the Forum was held in the UK with the participation of more than 1,200 delegates from nearly 100 delegations of countries, territories and international organizations.
The main content of the Forum was about the development trends of education in the future, discussion on promoting the practicality and efficiency of education. The discussions revolved around themes such as: promoting the use of data to improve educational quality; making family, school and society involved; expanding approach and equality in education; lifelong learning and learning communities; innovation and creativity in education.
Besides the official agendas of the Education World Forum and the Global Education Fair, Minister Phùng Xuân Nhạ had talks and bilateral meetings with the UK Education Secretary; Secretary of State for Children and Families and ASEAN Ministers; UK Minister of state for Universities, Research and 12 Ministers from East Asia, Middle East and America.