Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

VietNamNet Bridge – International schools could be the ideal places for
children to learn English, but they make light of science subjects. State owned
schools can provide good learning environment, but the curricula are too

Vietnam, students, curricula, reform, star schools

Vietnamese parents have kicked off a new race of enrolling in star schools, even
though schools would only begin the new enrolment season in eight months. It’s
really very difficult to decide what schools to enroll in, because no school is
ideal in their eyes.

webtretho, lamchame and some other education forums these days have been full of
the entries analyzing the pros and cons of different types of general schools in

In previous years, parents in urban areas always tried to enroll their children
in “star” schools which have good teaching staff and good teaching and learning
achievements. However, they seem to think differently now.

Cuamit, a parent on webtretho, while agreeing that it’d be better to send
children to star schools, said there still exists “bad classes” and “bad
teachers” in star schools, while “good classes” and “good teachers” also exist
in normal schools.

Phuong Thao and Nguyen Nhung, the other two parents, do not think that they need
to send children to star schools at any costs, believing that one’s success in
life does not depends on the schools he goes, but on his IQ and ability.

“As you may see, the majority of the students who come first at the university
entrance exams every year are not from star schools at all,” Thao said.
Meanwhile, it is very costly to obtain a seat at star school. A local newspaper
reported that parents would have to pay $3,000 (VND60 million) for a seat at a
star school.

Hong Nhung, who is now a teacher of a domestic invested international school,
said both star and normal schools, international and domestic, state owned and
non-state owned schools have advantages and disadvantages.

Star schools are believed to have better pedagogical environment, because
students must go through competitions to be enrolled in the schools, which means
that naughty children don’t have the opportunities to obtain seats at the

However, it’s always very costly and difficult to enroll in the schools.
Meanwhile, since the demand is overly high, the classes of the star schools are
sometimes overcrowded.

It was once fashionable to send children to international schools, because
parents believed that this is the best way for their children to learn foreign
languages. However, Nhung has noticed that the schools are not keen in teaching
science subjects.

“A lot of international school students cannot solve the math questions given in
textbooks. In general, they are very bad at math, physics and literature,” she

State owned schools have been criticized for running overloaded academic
curricula. However, they remain the top choice of the parents, who cannot afford
the high tuitions required by international schools.

Meocon, a parent, said it’d be better to send children to nearby schools, where
there are not too many students. This would allow parents to easier meet and see
off their children.

While parents in urban areas still disagree about what schools to enroll, they
all decide that their children need to begin studying English soon.

“My elderly son began studying math and sciences in English from the third
grade. Students here study with native English speakers with Vietnamese being
the assistant teachers. I think this is the best solution,” a parent wrote.

Nguyen Thao

By vivian