Education Ministry creates controversial rule prohibiting teachers, students from defaming education system

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has set a regulation which would prohibit teachers and students from disseminating, propagating, making comments and showing the images that may adversely affect the education environment.

Headmaster of Einstein High School in Hanoi Dao Tuan Dat expressed doubts about the legality of the regulation.

Education Ministry creates controversial rule prohibiting teachers, students from defaming education system

“Legally, I wonder if the regulation violates the laws on personal freedom and privacy,” he said. “Culturally, does the regulation offend people?”

He went on to say that the regulation prohibits a high number of behaviors, but the definitions about the behaviors remain unclear. ‘Offend’, ‘hurt’, ‘bully’ and ‘preconception’, for instance, are general descriptions.

Moreover, the regulation doesn’t say how violators will be punished, or which agency will be in charge of supervising and imposing sanctions.

The problems are the dark side of the market economy. As education becomes commercialized, founders of schools want to make more money, and more problems will arise.

“Behaviors must be analyzed in actual cultural context to judge if they are correct or incorrect,” Dat said.

“If the issues cannot be clarified, MOET’s (Ministry of Education and Training) purposes when setting the new regulation will be out of reach,” he concluded.

A high school teacher in Hanoi commented that MOET wants to prevent people from speaking against the national education system when setting the regulation.

“Does MOET only want to hear compliments, not criticisms?” he said. “However, it will violate the laws if it prevents people from expressing their viewpoints.”

Meanwhile, Nguyen Tung Lam, a respected educator in Hanoi, expressed his doubts about the feasibility of the regulation and the way to implement the regulation.

Which agency will come forward and take responsibility for the implementation of the regulation and which agency will be in charge of supervising the implementation? How can transparency of the enforcement be ensured?

The answers to the questions cannot be found in the regulation.

Former Director of Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Genetics Tran Duy Quy said it is difficult for MOET to adjust behavior by imposing bans. In developed countries, teachers and students can maintain civilized culture without bans and can access social networks.

MOET needs to apply comprehensive measures to improve the school environment which has witnessed many scandals recently, including child abuse, exam cheating, suspicious relations between teachers and students, and school violence.

“The most important task is fighting against school violence – a dangerous phenomenon that erodes the moral foundation,” he said.

The expert believes that the problems are the dark side of the market economy. As education becomes commercialized, founders of schools want to make more money, and more problems will arise.

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