Foreign textbooks facing stricter censorship

After the incident of Hanoi University of Business and Technology using a foreign textbook containing the nine-dash line, both the society and government urge that related agencies more carefully censor the content of university textbooks introduced by overseas publishers.

Students are learning about the Chinese culture in Rach Gia City of Kien Giang Province (Photo: SGGP)

Students are learning about the Chinese culture in Rach Gia City of Kien Giang Province (Photo: SGGP)

Before the launch of the Education Law in 2012, the Ministry of Education and Training had issued Circular No.04/2011 to regulate the preparation, selection, evaluation, and official use of textbooks in the university level.

Accordingly, the science – training council of each university should propose a list of possible textbooks corresponding to the current curricula of that university. The principal then has to form a textbook selection council to formally approve proper books to be used.

In 2018, the adjusted University Education Law retained that article, saying that “the Minister of Education and Training provides the minimum requirement on professional knowledge and practical skills for university students; the process to form, evaluate, and introduce a training curriculum for college, undergraduate, graduate levels; the regulations related to preparing, selecting, evaluating, and using a certain textbook in university education. Based on that, principals of universities will establish a council to choose or compose particular textbooks to use in their own educational institutes.

Thanks to these detailed regulations, it is obviously the responsibility of the principal as well as the science council and related lecturers of the mentioned university to let such an incident happen. Clearly, at the moment, there are various cross-border training programs running in Vietnamese universities, it is the job of these educational institutes to ensure the content precision in chosen textbooks for those courses.

Associate Prof. Dr. Vu Hai Quan, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), stated that the organization’s Board of Directors has already suggested the University Board to issue a written instruction to strictly recheck the content of current textbooks to avoid similar incidents.

According to Mr. Tran Nam, Head of the Business Relations and Media Office in the University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Vietnam National University – HCMC, his managers have also asked department deans to carefully monitor this task. In addition, the content of international conferences to be held in this university, including written materials, must be thoroughly checked to ensure information precision at all cost.

Simultaneously, the propaganda about the sovereignty on Vietnamese seas and islands are annually organized to raise students’ awareness on the matter. Along with that, the content monitoring task in university libraries, departments before introducing books to learners are firmly done so that no possible harmful information can reach students.

Dr. Nguyen Minh Hong, Principal of the HCMC University of Pedagogy, shared that the approval and use of textbooks and reference materials in the university now go in close accordance with Decision No.2946 issued on December 13, 2016. Firstly, departments submit a list of possible textbooks with selection reasons. The principal then holds a council to evaluate the textbook composing plan. Receiving this, the editor-in-chief of a certain and members then strictly observe the plan to create the final product, followed by the evaluation task of the department before the book being submitted to the principal and evaluation council. The final approval of these two allows the new textbook to be formally published and widely used in the university.

Dr. Hong added that foreign textbooks are under a similar strict evaluation process before being used in classes. Her university always publicly announces the list of all textbooks and curriculum currently used in each department.

By THANH HUNG – Translated by Thanh Tam

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