Việt Nam may scrap the national college admission exam which educators have complained inhibits student creativity and proves unfair for college candidates, according to a draft reform plan the Ministry of Education and Training(MoET) introduced to local media on Thursday.
Plan developers said at a press conference in Hà Nội that the current exam consumes bulky resources and creates a burden for students, their parents, and the entire society alike.
Vietnamese high school students are now required to pass national high school graduation tests at the end of grade 12 before they can sit for the admission exam to gain acceptance into college.
A student sleeping in an exam room at a Hồ Chí Minh City university during the 2013 national college admission exam in early July
Every year in July, Việt Nam gets busier when candidates and their parents descend on exam centers across the country for the important exam, which costs MoET a huge amount of money to organize and administer.
Despite such hard efforts the exam has been criticized for testing the ability to learn by rote and thus preventing candidates from applying what is taught to solve problems, the developers said.
It is also not fair to decide whether to admit students to colleges based merely on their performance at the exam while learning is a long process, they added.
Local universities will likely be allowed to recruit students on the basis of how they have performed in high school and on national high school graduation tests, which will also be reformed, Deputy Education Minister Nguyễn Vinh Hiển said at the conference.
The reform plan suggests testing twelfth-graders either on problem-solving skills or math and Vietnamese literature, instead of six subjects as at present, at the high school graduation exam, Bùii Mạnh Nhi, a MoET official, said.
MoET also said in the plan that it will maintain the current 12-year educational system, including five years of elementary school, four years of middle school, and three years of high school.
Earlier, some veteran educators had proposed taking one year off the system.
Deputy Minister Hiển announced that MoET will cut the number of subjects to 3-6 from 11 in elementary school and 8 from 13 in middle school after the year 2015.
Eleventh- and twelfth-graders will study three compulsory subjects, including math, Vietnamese literature and a foreign language, rather than over a dozen like the present, Hiển added.
Under the reform the education ministry will establish highly qualified pedagogical universities to train teachers to be able to adapt to these expected changes.
It will review remuneration packages for teachers, which are said to be so uncompetitive, and offer more incentives to attract talents to the teaching profession as well.
Now a student must pass MoET tests on a set of three subjects, which depend on his/her major, to gain admission to a college.