Students across the country are still using textbooks approved under the 2005 general education curriculum, including a set published by the Vietnam Education Publishing House and a number of Professor Ho Ngoc Dai's Primary Educational Technology books.
In December 2018, the Ministry of Education and Training announced a new general education curriculum, including 27 subject curricula. Based on the curriculum, authors were tasked writing textbooks for evaluation. After two rounds of evaluation, 38 out of 49 manuscripts on nine subjects met the requirements.
On November 21, Minister Phung Xuan Nha approved 32 of the books. The subjects include Vietnamese, maths, ethics, nature and society, physical education, music, fine arts and experimental activities. Most of the authors of the 11 "failed" manuscripts are expected to continue editing for re-evaluation in December.
According to the ministry, the new textbooks had been carefully compiled in accordance with the requirements of the new education curriculum. Many of the books apply modern teaching methods that were suitable for schools and students in Vietnam.
Among the approved textbooks, the Vietnam Education Publishing House prevailed with 24, constituting four complete sets. Hanoi Pedagogical University and Ho Chi Minh City University of Education also had sets of four books approved.
Regarding concerns that the Vietnam Education Publishing House had the most approved titles, Thai Van Tai, director of the Primary Education Department, said the textbooks were compiled by various authors and publishers, and exclusivity had been minimised.
According to Nguyen Xuan Thanh, deputy director of the Secondary Education Department, with the new curriculum the textbooks were just part of the learning materials.
According to the Education Law 2019 that will take effect in July 2020, the selection of textbooks will be decided by provincial People's Committees. Currently, the Ministry of Education and Training is drafting a circular guiding the selection of textbooks, which will then be widely studied before issuing. The circular on the selection of textbooks will specify the composition of the board, including educational managers, scientists and a majority of teachers who directly teach the subjects.
Before March 2020, localities will need to set up selection boards and announce the results of selection of textbooks from the list published by the ministry. In this regard, some people suggest that in order to select the right textbooks that are suitable for students, teaching conditions in each locality, and information about textbooks for schools, administrators, teachers, parents and the general public must be complete, accurate and publicly available.
The ministry plans to implement this and organise training for teachers, as well as ensure the textbooks are ready for the 2020-2021 school year.