Presently, five sets of textbooks of the Vietnam Education Publishing House, the Pedagogy University Publishing House and the Vietnam Education Publishing House are being approved to use in schools to end the Vietnam Education Publishing House long-held monopoly. Schools are given autonomy to select sets of textbooks.
According to the present regulations, prices of new textbooks are decided by the publishing houses, the Ministry of Finance said. Under the Ministry of Education and Training’s request, price of textbooks has decreased by 8 percent-18 percent to share learners’ financial burden under the impacts of Covid-19; however, textbook prices are still high.
Specifically, four sets of “Ket noi tri thuc voi cuoc song” (Connecting knowledge and life) and the set “Chan troi sang tao”( Inventive horizon) of the Vietnam Education Publishing House are priced at VND179,000 and VND186,000 respectively while the set “Cung hoc de phat trien nang luc” ( Learning mutually to develop one’s own ability) and the set “Vi su binh dang va dan chu trong giao duc” ( For the equality and democracy in education) are sold at VND194,000 and VND189,000 respectively.
The textbook price for the school year 2019-2020 is VND54,000 whereas the new textbooks are all higher. For instance, the book Nature and Society fetches VND6,000 while the similar new textbook of the set Canh Dieu ( Kites) is sold at VND28,000. Plus, existing Math textbook is priced at VND13,000 while the new one is sold at VND35,000.
Explaining for the high price of new textbooks, the Vietnam Education Publishing House said that the new textbook price includes cost of compilation, material, printing, transportation and other fees.
Realizing that the prices of textbooks are so high, the Ministry of Education and Training has petitioned to the government to add textbooks into the commodities whose price will be decided by the government.
The Ministry itself is studying which textbooks parents must pay and which textbooks the government will support. The Ministry of Finance said that when the prices of new textbooks will be lower when the government decides it.
From the Ministry of Education and Training’s proposal, Deputy Finance Minister Vu Thi Mai submitted a proposal to add textbook into the commodities under the government’s management to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly in the middle of July.
However, some people in the committee voiced their opinion that addition of textbooks into the commodities under the government’s management is contrary to the market principles.
Chairman of NA’s Committee on Finance and Budget Nguyen Duc Hai said to have appropriate prices in the market mechanism, the government should allow more individuals and organizations to take part in textbook compilation hoping to reduce the prices of the special commodity.
According to Cao Xuan Hung, Director of the Department of Education and Training in the Northern Province of Nam Dinh, textbook prices should be equal to a resident’ average income so that people can afford it for their children. People will choose the cheaper ones if there are two textbook sets with same quality.