Teacher educators supporting inclusive education in Vietnam

Overview

In Vietnam, as well as in other developing countries, the government has recognised the importance of inclusive education in promoting social justice and equity. One major difficulty that Vietnam and other countries face is ensuring that human resource development can support these important initiatives.

Aims
What were the main aims of the initiative?

The aim of this national project was to implement a train-the-trainer programme to prepare teacher educators from national and provincial universities and colleges across Vietnam for teaching about inclusion. The training course in inclusive education had two major objectives:

  1. Upskill the teacher educators.
  2. Engage them in appropriate pedagogies they could then employ to embed the core curriculum framework on inclusive education into their own initial teacher education programmes.
Background
Location, Setting, Scope, Key Events etc.

The challenge for Vietnam was how to prepare teacher educators to implement a national curriculum on inclusive education, as they did not have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be able to teach the proposed core curriculum in a timely and effective way.

The Government of Vietnam’s commitment to a more inclusive education approach and its desire to provide educational opportunities for children with disabilities is clearly shown in its Education Law (National Assembly, 2005) and particularly in the development and approval of the Education for All National Action Plan 2003–2015.

To expand inclusive education into all pre-school, primary and secondary schools in Vietnam, where an estimated 944,410 teachers require up-skilling (Statistical Source Office, 2008), appropriate teacher education is required.

Issues Addressed
What issues/challenges does the example address?

In 2008, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and an external consultant, developed a national core curriculum and pedagogical framework for inclusive education. These structures aimed to ensure that all teachers in training at all universities and teacher colleges received quality and equitable training. There was, however, difficulty in implementing this due to the relatively few faculty members who had sufficient knowledge to teach the programme. Thus, measures had to be taken to provide appropriate training for the teacher educators in the universities and colleges, considered key institutions for delivering and disseminating inclusive education approaches throughout the country.

Implementation
How was the initiative implemented?

Having made a policy commitment to inclusive education, the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam worked with Catholic Relief Services to develop a national curriculum so that all student teachers in universities and colleges would receive a quality training that prepared them for teaching in inclusive settings. However, a lack of suitably experienced teacher educators held back progress. Further work was therefore carried out to improve the attitudes, knowledge and practical skills of teacher educators, so that they could deliver the training curriculum using appropriate pedagogy. Forty-seven teacher educators, from eight cities/provinces, received 40 hours of training in Hanoi. This introduced them to the curriculum they would need to follow, but importantly gave them opportunities for personal reflection, for debates and to practice the pedagogical skills needed for teaching an inclusive curriculum. These teacher educators went on to become resource experts to support colleagues in their own and other teacher education institutions (Forlin & Dinh, 2010).

All aspects of the new core curriculum framework were discussed, and multiple opportunities were provided to learn, identify and practice the pedagogical skills needed for teaching an inclusive curriculum.

Key partnerships include:

  • MOET, Government of Vietnam
  • Catholic Relief Services, Vietnam
  • Teacher educators from national and provincial universities and colleges across Vietnam
  • External consultant with expertise in inclusive education.
Key Outcomes & Impact
What where the key outcomes? What impact/added value did they prove? What were the biggest challenges?

The participants gained the knowledge and appropriate dispositions towards inclusion and had sufficient practice to feel more confident in becoming inclusive teacher educators.

After completing the course, the teacher educators identified four specific areas they had learned that they would apply in their teaching, namely:

  • Theory and knowledge
  • Instructions and skills
  • Inclusive education practices
  • A much greater awareness of inclusion.

These trained educators will be the resource experts for delivering inclusive education in their initial teacher education programmes and for disseminating information to other training institutions nationwide.

The course allowed them to reflect deeply on their own beliefs and engage in constructive dialogue as they grappled with an understanding of the philosophy of inclusive education, the needs of children from diverse backgrounds, the challenges faced by teachers, and their own role in furthering inclusion.

Although the teacher educators had a better understanding of the concept of inclusion and a willingness to provide opportunities for their students to reflect upon and improve their attitudes using some specific strategies, they were still concerned that they needed a lot more information about inclusion and best practices for supporting children with disabilities.

Future Developments / Sustainability
Have any plans been made for future direction of the initiative?

Although the teacher educators had a better understanding of the concept of inclusion and a willingness to provide opportunities for their students to reflect upon and improve their attitudes using some specific strategies, they were still concerned that they needed a lot more information about inclusion and best practices for supporting children with disabilities.

A two-level action plan, therefore, was proposed to further inclusive education in Vietnam. This involved changes at the college and university level and changes at a systemic level.

Further training programmes were planned to ensure all teacher educators were trained to teach about inclusive education.

Contact information

Professor Chris Forlin
International Inclusive Education Consultant

chrisforlin@outlook.com

 

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

6 + 9 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
Vietnam