Students at Le Quy Don High School in HCMC District 3 participate in a history class as a project.

History teacher Nguyen Ngoc Hung from Thanh Nhan High School (in Tan Phu district of Ho Chi Minh City) said that the restructuring of history subject in GET2018 means retraining teachers, revamping textbooks, which is a waste of money and time when there are only 2 months left before the start of the new school year.

He proposed that instead of erasing all efforts to write new history textbooks for GET2018 over the past 3 years, based on the available framework, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET ) asks teachers to organize history lessons in a flexible way according to the existing educational establishments, human resources and specificities of each locality. The mandatory section could be taken from the basic knowledge in the framework.

What is more important is the redesign stage so that these lessons are more suitable for all types of students, whether they are in the social sciences or natural sciences groups. The in-depth subjects must be adapted according to the receptive capacity of the pupils and the actual conditions of each school.

Pham Thi Bich Tuyen, head of the history group at Bui Thi Xuan High School (District 1 – HCMC), said the new history textbooks were developed for social science students and therefore have quite in-depth knowledge. Now that it is required to teach the subject to pupils of all groups, i.e. 3 periods per week, which subjects should then have their periods reduced? It is wiser to divide the knowledge contained in these textbooks into a compulsory part compulsory for all students and an additional in-depth part for those who choose a history-related career in the future.

Another problem arises from the content overlap between history and geography or civics subjects, which makes the content rather overloaded. It is advised that the MoET provide guidance on reducing the teaching load for the subject to better suit all types of students.

An important issue raised by parents and students is the content orientation of the history exam in the secondary school leaving exam. Going from a subject for all to a subject reserved for social science students, the requirements for writing exam papers are different. Now that this is reversed, these requirements must also change for greater synchronization between learning and testing.

The final illogical issue that worries lower secondary teachers comes from combining history and geography into one subject at this level. This forces history teachers to learn in a short time how to teach geography and vice versa, which is very inefficient. Not to mention the difference in history test format between Junior High and Senior High levels.

Educational leaders and history teachers at secondary level are now rather frustrated and uneasy with the rapid and unexpected developments in GET2018 history teaching at this level. Receiving guidance on new points in GET2018, they have completed all plans and preparations for the new school year, but now have to wait for more instructions from MoET due to this sudden change in story topic. Implementing it the following academic year seems more logical than doing it right this year.

By Thu Tam – Translated by Thanh Tam

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