The lack of infrastructure is said to pose a big challenge for the implementation of the new National Curriculum for Primary and Secondary Education.
According to Pham Hung Anh, head of school Facilities and Equipment Department of the Ministry of Education and Training, currently, the country has 567,012 classrooms, including 424,757 qualified ones with high schools accounting for 93.9%, followed by secondary schools with 83.4%, primary schools with 72.2% and nursery schools with 64.9%.
Many schools face classroom shortage
The northern mountainous, Central Highlands and southwestern regions have the lowest rate of consolidated classrooms. Meanwhile, these localities also fail to ensure 50% of the minimum teaching and learning equipment requirement.
Nguyen Minh Tuong, director of Phu Tho Province’s Department of Education and Training, the province would need around VND8 trillion (USD347.82 million) on infrastructure investment for the new curriculum implementation. However, this investment is quite big for the province, so it will be focused on primary schools first.
Chu Xuan Dung, Director of Hanoi’s Department of Education and Training, said the capital is also struggling with classroom shortages. The department has proposed municipal authorities to approve a project of building additional 222 new schools in the 2016-2020 period.
Dung expected that the Ministry of Education and Training to issue regulations on minimum infrastructure requirements for the new curriculum programme as well as solutions to ease overload for schools in big cities like Hanoi and HCM City.
At an online meeting held by the Ministry of Education and Training on January 9 about preparations for the new curriculum implementation, Anh said that primary schools need to ensure one class to have one room, while secondary and high schools need to achieve a ratio of 0.6 classes per room.
Regarding the equipment, the Ministry of Education and Training will revise the list of necessary equipment with the focus on IT aspect to suit the new curriculum programme. The list for Grade 1 is expected to be launched in the first quarter of this year, while the one for other grades will be introduced one year after that.
The ministry has asked localities to define their own infrastructure demand between 2017 and 2020.
At the event, Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha said that the ministry will join hands with localities for the programme implementation. Disadvantaged localities will be supported.
The ministry has also co-operated with the Ministry of Education and Training to adjust the school area to ease the student overload for many schools.
The new programme requires pupils to take two classes per day or at least six classes per week. A standard classroom should have 35 students at the primary level and 45 students at elementary level. Classrooms should be spacious enough to organise tables and chairs in groups.