SOS: social sciences dieing slowly
August 2nd, 2011
Educators and experts have rung the alarm bell over the degrading of social sciences, warning that Vietnamese students have become more and more diverged from social sciences.
The number of students registering to take C-group (literature, history and geography) university entrance exams has been decreasing dramatically year after year. Meanwhile, the students, who still love social sciences, cannot get high marks at the exams.
Rote learning, bad teaching method, low salary, and high unemployment rates are the reasons which have been cited to explain why students now keep away from social science subjects.
Social sciences majoring classes eliminated at high schools
The Tran Phu High School in Hanoi has announced that it enrolls 675 students for 10th grade classes in the 2011-2012 academic year. It is expected that there are 15 classes, but these will not include the classes majoring in social sciences. There will only be A-group (students study with emphasis on mathematics, physics and chemistry to prepare for the A-group university entrance exams) and D-group (mathematics, literature and foreign languages), or natural sciences majoring classes.
Similarly, the Vietnam-Germany and Phan Dinh Phung High Schools, the most prestigious schools in Hanoi only enroll students for A, D-group and natural sciences majoring classes.
All the high schools for the gifted in big cities like Hanoi or HCM City have specialized classes for mathematics, physics, chemistry and English excellent students, but only a few of them have history or geography majoring classes.
The Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in HCM City is one of the rare schools which have geography and history majoring classes. However, the students studying at the classes do not have to have the high marks from the school entrance school exams like the students in other classes.
Schools say that whether to enroll students for social sciences majoring classes depends on the parents’ demands. Currently, most students like studying natural sciences, so that they can well prepare for the university entrance exams. The number of students registering to study social sciences is not big enough for schools to organize classes.
Only bad students take C-group university entrance exams?
About 1.9 million registrations to take the university entrance exams were made in the 2011 enrolment season. Of these, only 125,264 registrations to sit C-group exams were made, or 6.4 percent of total registrations.
According to the Hanoi University of Social Sciences under the Hanoi National University, the number of students registering to take C-group exams to the school has been decreasing by 10 percent year after year.
Especially, problems have been found in the quality of the students registering to follow social sciences studies.
Only 10 percent of examinees got marks of five and higher at the recent university entrance exams, while only a few of them got eight or nine marks out of the thousands of exam papers.
The student, who came first at the university entrance C-group exams to the Tien Giang University, got only 17 marks, while only 17 examinees got 13 marks and higher in total. Especially, the highest mark for history exam was 5.25, while only four examinees got five. 147 students got zero or one mark.
As for the Quang Nam University, there was only one good mark of 7.25 for history, while eight other examinees got 5-6.5, 12 students got 3-3.5, and most of students got one or two.
Not only local universities, but big universities have also reported bad marks for C-group students. Less than 10 examinees who registered to sit exams to the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanity got 8-9 marks from the history exam, while less than 10 percent got five marks and higher. The HCM City University of Education has also reported that C-group students only got 1-3 marks on average for every subject.