Education minister questioned at NA

NDO/VNA—The progress in implementing a project to teach foreign languages in the national education system through 2020 was among the major issues raised by deputies at the fourteenth National Assembly for Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha during the question-and-answer session on November 16.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha replying to queries during the question-and-answer session on November 16. (Credit: NDO)
Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha replying to queries during the question-and-answer session on November 16. (Credit: NDO)

Replying to queries on whether the project will be accomplished, Minister Nha said that targets earlier set in Project 2020 were unreachable, as teaching and studying foreign languages is a big issue that requires long-term efforts.

He admitted his responsibility for developing the failed project, adding that the ministry is adjusting its approaches and objectives and will submit the revised version to the Government soon.

However, he also pointed to a number of achievements of the projects, which aim to see English taught to all sorts of people, not only students, to create a learning society. This is a long-term process requiring specific roadmap and steps, he said.

Regarding the problem of the high unemployment rate among university graduates, and the imbalance of the supply and demand of labour, Nha cited his ministry’s statistics as stating that about 80% of university graduates have found jobs.

He promised that the ministry will work to improve the quality of university training and support new universities, with the aim of replanning the network of universities and forming groups of highly rated facilities.

At the same time, the ministry will also tighten the management of university entrance and exit requirements by asking for their reports on the number of graduates and their ratio of employment in order to take adjustments, he said.

He pledged that his ministry will work with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) to focus on market-orientated training in a bid to tackle the imbalance in the supply and demand of labour.

He stressed the need to revise the planning of the system of training facilities to balance the sources of supply and demand, during which the quality of universities and colleges, as well as their lecturers and management, will be improved.

He also pointed to the need to popularise forecasts of the labour market, which will serve as a foundation on which to orient students’ future careers. He acknowledged the ministry’s poor performance in that regard.

The minister also affirmed that in the time to come, the ministry will work harder and more closely with the MoLISA and other relevant agencies in planning, as well as in popularising labour market forecasts.

Responding to the reform of high-school graduation exams towards simplicity, efficiency, reduced pressure and reduced costs, Minister Nha said that as lessons had been learned from previous years, the 2016 exam was recognised as improved, but that it still needs to be further revised.

In particular, the application of the multiple-choice test is a step forward, he said, adding that the ministry will continue improving the technical content of the exams.

He said that this method helps to enhance the transparency of the exam while testing students on general knowledge of all subjects. This preeminent method has been applied in many countries, he added.

The ministry has made a roadmap for the reform of examination and testing methods, as well as education in general, he said, adding that steps will be made gradually to avoid sudden changes.

More measures will be rolled out to reduce the pressures on students and teachers, he underscored.