QUALITY AND COMPETENCY OF TEACHERS: FROM HO CHI MINH’S PERSPECTIVE TO THE APPLICATION IN THE TRAINING OF POLITICAL THEORY LECTURERS IN VIETNAM NOWADAYS

КАЧЕСТВО И КОМПЕТЕНТНОСТЬ ПРЕПОДАВАТЕЛЕЙ: С ТОЧКИ ЗРЕНИЯ ИДЕОЛОГИИ ХО ШИ МИНА ПРИ ПОДГОТОВКЕ ПРЕПОДАВАТЕЛЕЙ ПО ПОЛИТИЧЕСКОЙ ТЕОРИИ ВО ВЬЕТНАМЕ В НАСТОЯЩЕЕ ВРЕМЯ
Le T.N.
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Le T.N. QUALITY AND COMPETENCY OF TEACHERS: FROM HO CHI MINH’S PERSPECTIVE TO THE APPLICATION IN THE TRAINING OF POLITICAL THEORY LECTURERS IN VIETNAM NOWADAYS // Universum: общественные науки : электрон. научн. журн. 2023. 11(102). URL: https://7universum.com/ru/social/archive/item/16354 (дата обращения: 26.02.2024).
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DOI - 10.32743/UniSoc.2023.102.11.16354

 

ABSTRACT

Ho Chi Minh is a great politician, an outstanding diplomat, a talented military leader, and a passionate educator. Because of his care for education, He focused on developing a team of virtuous and capable teachers from a very early stage. In this paper, the author clarifies Ho Chi Minh’s views on the qualities and competency of teachers. From there, the author proposes a number of solutions that contribute to the training and improvement of the quality and competency of political theory lecturers in Vietnamese universities nowadays following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology.

АННОТАЦИЯ

Хо Ши Мин - великий политик, выдающийся дипломат, талантливый военачальник и влюбленный в свое дело преподаватель. Из-за своего отношения к образованию он сосредоточил свое внимание на создании команды добродетельных и способных учителей. В этой статье автор подробно рассказывает о взглядах Хо Ши Мина на качества и компетентность учителей. Исходя из этого, автор предлагает ряд решений, которые способствуют подготовке и повышению качества и компетентности преподавателей политической теории во вьетнамских университетах, которые в настоящее время следуют идеологии Хо Ши Мина.

 

Keywords: Teacher, Ho Chi Minh, qualities, abilities, Vietnam

Ключевые слова: Учитель, Хо Ши Мин, качества, способности, Вьетнам.

 

Introduction

During his lifetime, Ho Chi Minh always emphasized the importance of teachers because their mission was to train people, a vital factor in determining the future and development of the country. He considered teachers soldiers on the educational front. However, he was meticulous in selecting teachers because not everyone could become a “teacher.” Ho Chi Minh pointed out: “A good teacher - a teacher who deserves his or her status of authority - is the most glorious” [5, vol.14, p .402], and “good teachers are the unsung heroes” [5, vol. 14, p. 403]. This showed that Ho Chi Minh placed high demands on the teaching staff. They had to be people with good personalities, beautiful souls, knowledge, pedagogical skills, and especially love for their profession and students. Absorbing his crucial instructions, during more than 35 years of Doi Moi, Vietnam’s education has focused on building and developing a team of teachers with good qualities and competency, meeting the requirements of educational reform. Up to now, there has been much domestic and foreign research studying Ho Chi Minh’s educational ideology in general and Ho Chi Minh’s ideology on teachers in particular. Based on systematizing Ho Chi Minh’s views on the qualities and competency of teachers, the author would like to suggest some solutions to enhance the quality and competency of political theory lecturers in Vietnam. However, political theory lecturers are not only those who teach at universities and colleges but also people participating in teaching political theory at provincial Schools of Politics to train and foster political theory skills for cadres, civil servants, and public employees at different levels. In this paper, the author only focuses on training political theory lecturers at universities in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh’s views on the qualities and competency of teachers

It can be said that the teacher’s personality has a great influence on the learners. That power cannot be replaced by any textbook, even the best, or any moral story, even the most profound. Hence, Ho Chi Minh first mentioned a team of teachers with the essential qualities and competency when talking about education.

According to him, the most significant thing for a teacher was ethics. In the revolutionary era, it had to be revolutionary ethics. To practice morality, Ho Chi Minh always reminded teachers to be honest and know how to uphold the country’s and the schools’ interests over and above personal interests. He also indicated that teachers and students had to enhance the spirit of love for the Fatherland and socialism, strengthen revolutionary sentiment for workers and peasants, be loyal to the revolutionary cause, believe in the Party’s leadership, and be ready to accept any task assigned by the Party and the people. Moreover, Ho Chi Minh attached great importance to the spirit of solidarity. He said: “First of all, we must unite. We shall have a true solidarity among teachers, between teachers and students, among students, between officials and workers. The school must unite into a bloc, real unity, not a mere formality” [5, vol. 14, p. 402]. Educators must have a noble spirit, sacrifice, and overcome difficulties like the saying “Business before pleasure” to educate learners about responsibility to the nation and society.

Starting from the concept: “A living example is worth more than a hundred speeches” [5, vol. 1, p. 284], Ho Chi Minh believes that every teacher must be a role model for students to follow, from words to actions. A good teacher has a good influence, and a bad teacher has a bad influence on students. A teacher’s role model will have an entire generation following, whereas a teacher’s bad behavior can hurt and lose the trust of an entire class of people. Ho Chi Minh often reminded teachers not to lose their qualities. No matter the circumstances, they must be role models for their students. They should not be indifferent to society, be detached from practical life, be lazy in their learning, be jealous and competitive about social status, belittle their work or lack team spirit.

Moreover, every teacher must have love for their job and students. This is the most critical quality and requirement because it is the basis and motivation inspiring responsibility and enthusiasm for each teacher to strive and complete his or her glorious career. Ho Chi Minh said: “Teachers must love students as your children and should not discriminate between students from one region and another. Every student is a child of our big family. The Party and Government have assigned the teachers to be in charge of raising and educating students.” [5, vol. 9, p. 499]. It is evident that a teacher with enough love possesses the patience to correct the students for the smallest things and fair behavior. Students with pure souls are sensitive to the affection of their teacher. The teacher’s strictness is still well-received by students if they feel it contains love. Only when teachers love their job can they become “good ones” and be rewarded with love and respect by their students. This is a truth consistently emphasized by Ho Chi Minh.

Besides ensuring the essential qualities of a teacher, Ho Chi Minh demanded that every teacher continuously enhance their competency.

In terms of professional knowledge, teachers should have profound knowledge. Thanks to that, they can train learners to become knowledgeable and capable of contributing to society. Ho Chi Minh explicitly stated that it was challenging to force teachers to be well-versed in every field, as human knowledge was exceedingly vast. However, teachers had to be experts in their field of expertise. Therefore, He advised everyone, especially teachers, to follow the saying of V.I. Lenin: “Study, study more, study forever.” Teachers must also practice Confucius’ motto: “Learning without getting bored, teaching others without getting tired” to persevere in transmitting knowledge. More than anyone else, they must be a role model of learning and searching for knowledge, so Ho Chi Minh wrote: “All teachers should not think that learning to a certain level is enough, but must continue to learn more to improve forever” [5, vol. 11, p. 528].

In addition, pedagogical business is equally important for teachers because whether knowledge can reach students depends on communication capacity and pedagogical skills. If a teacher has profound knowledge but cannot convey it to learners, he or she has not been a brilliant teacher. Ho Chi Minh said: “Teachers must find ways to teach. What and how to teach shall be researched so students can understand quickly, remember long, and progress quickly” [5, vol. 10, p. 290-291]. To do that, teachers have to be able to express their ideas well. Ho Chi Minh asked them to use simple words and practical examples to explain to learners. At the same time, “teachers need to avoid speaking too many words in a foreign language. Words that exist in Vietnamese need not to be replaced with ones of a foreign language” [5, vol. 14, p. 746]. The teacher’s ability to express fluently, clearly, and easily not only affects the learners’ minds, helping them quickly absorb knowledge, but also directly impacts their hearts. In addition, the pedagogical ability of teachers is demonstrated through their ability to manage and organize classroom activities. Based on his own experiences as an educator and through rich practical experience, Ho Chi Minh consistently reminded teachers: “Organizing activities of the school and class must follow a plan, must rationalize, must strive to do it, and should not be hasty or superficial” [6, p. 95]. In the Letter sent to teachers and students on the occasion of the new school year’s opening in 1968, He wrote: “Teachers must work together to organize and manage the material and spiritual life in schools better and better and improve health and safety” [3, p. 258]. Finally, compiling a comprehensive, understandable, well-documented, practical, and innovative curriculum will also create an advantage and distinguish among teachers. This is a critical competency that allows lessons to be delivered according to the learners’ level, psychology, and experience.

Another issue Ho Chi Minh always emphasized was that teachers had to have a strong level of political theory. The teachers not only impart knowledge but also direct the thoughts of learners. Therefore, they must have knowledge and firm political bravery (political bravery is a composite factor of the political stance, political qualifications, political attitudes, political skills, and political courage of cadres and party members). Ho Chi Minh said: “The duties of teachers are heavy but very noble. To fulfill these duties, they must serve as role models in all aspects and continuously nurture revolutionary ethics and a strong political stance” [5, vol. 14, p. 747]. Teachers shall constantly study the Marxist-Leninist theory as well as “absorb” the methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism to “guide” learners to scientific truths and life values.

It can be said that education is the best path to make a nation prevail. The destiny of a country, whether it prospers or declines, depends on the quality of the teaching staff. Therefore, every teacher should continuously cultivate their virtues and skills to truly deserve the title of “ferryman who brings the young generation to the future.”

Improving the quality and competency of political theory lecturers in universities in Vietnam following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology in the current period

The 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam has set ambitious objectives for short-term, medium-term, and long-term development, and one of the key approaches to achieving these goals is “to awaken the aspiration for a prosperous and happy nation” [5, vol.1, p. 111] in every individual. At this moment, a high-quality workforce, a direct product of education and training, is the most crucial factor that determines the success of the country’s development strategy. Training human resources that meet the country’s renewal requirements and foster the nation’s development is the responsibility of universities, including the faculty. Currently, Vietnam is one of the few countries that still steadfastly maintains a socialist regime. Hence, educating communist ideology, revolutionary ethics, and political awareness for the young generation is an imperative task. However, Vietnamese universities are focusing on “vocational training” while minimizing “educating individuals.” As a result, a part of the students show signs of being “indifferent and uninterested in the Party, Youth Union, and politics.” This is very detrimental to the political orientation of the nation. Therefore, in Vietnamese universities’ education and training strategy, in addition to enhancing professional training, political theory subjects need to be given more attention to cultivate revolutionary ethics and raise political awareness for the young. To improve the quality of teaching for political theory subjects, it is essential to regularly innovate the content, curriculum, methods, and teaching aids, and the effectiveness of that innovation depends on the teaching staff. In the Conclusion of the Secretariat on continuing to innovate the study of political theory in the national education system No. 94-KL/TW, dated March 28, 2014, the Communist Party of Vietnam clearly emphasized: “It’s imperative to build a team of political theory teachers who are dedicated, love their work, are loyal, have confidence, and possess new knowledge integrated with practice. This is a decisive factor contributing to the success of continuing to innovate the study of political theory in educational institutions” [1, p.2]. Thus, the requirement for political theory lecturers at Vietnamese universities is to possess good qualities and high competence and expertise.

In recent years, with a growing awareness of the importance of political theory education in Vietnam in general and in Vietnamese universities in particular, training and fostering political theory lecturers has continuously received attention. However, the quality of the political theory lecturers in Vietnamese universities is facing some issues that need to be addressed. One noticeable issue is the significant generation gap between older and younger lecturers. Most young teachers lack a solid knowledge base and practical understanding and have limited real-world experience, so their lectures are often less persuasive. This leads to a sense of “disinterest,” not only for the learners but also for the teachers themselves. In addition, due to the nature of the subject, which involves a vast amount of abstract knowledge, innovating teaching methods is quite challenging. The situation of teachers reading and students copying still prevails. The lack of interactive engagement during class sessions makes the lessons monotonous, causing students to lose interest in learning and hindering their self-study motivation. In that situation, improving the teaching staff's quality and competency is indispensable. According to Ho Chi Minh, the following solutions shall be implemented.

Firstly, it is essential to cultivate ethics and political skills for political theory lecturers. Practicing revolutionary and professional ethics is of great significance for lecturers in general and political theory lecturers in Vietnamese universities in particular. Lecturers are citizens of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, so they must uphold the ethics to serve as role models for students to follow. Lecturers are tasked with cultivating high-quality human resources for the nation, so they must possess a profound awareness of their responsibility in the cause of “growing people.” In addition to morality, this team must be fortified with firm political bravery. They should steadfastly maintain their faith in the path towards socialism and the cause of Doi Moi that Vietnam is undertaking.

Secondly, there should be a positive innovation in content and teaching methods. Based on the curriculum developed by the Ministry of Education and Training, the content of political theory courses should be closely linked to practice, enabling students to grasp the value of the subject. Because each school and major has unique characteristics, lecturers need to connect with the specific field students are pursuing to create interest and engagement and help them apply knowledge to their academic and daily lives. Regarding teaching methods, although it is determined that methods must be renovated, presentation methods in political theory should still be prioritized because this subject is propaganda-oriented. Furthermore, it is necessary to flexibly combine it with other advanced teaching methods, such as implementing thematic discussions, group activities, and slide presentations, watching documentaries, and organizing mini-games to learn about Marxist-Leninist ideologies, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, ethics, and style, the guidelines and strategies of the Communist Party of Vietnam, as well as crucial issues in the domestic and international contexts. Thanks to that, it is possible to enhance interaction between the teachers and the students and among the students themselves, making political theory lessons that are often perceived as tedious and complex become lively, bringing excitement and stimulating students’ creativity.

Thirdly, there must be a specific training plan to improve the qualifications of lecturers. In his lifetime, President Ho Chi Minh said: “You are teachers and educational officials, so you should always strive to learn more, study politics, and acquire expertise. If you do not progress continuously, you will not keep up with the general trend and become backward” [5, vol.10, p. 273-274]. This is necessary at all times. It’s essential to “bend a plant as young as possible,” so the Ministry of Education and Training should focus on investing in universities specializing in training political theory lecturers. For these majors, along with raising an admission cutoff score to ensure the quality of “input,” incentives such as tuition waivers and increased scholarships must be given to attract talented students. During the training process, increasing the time devoted to practical teaching skills is crucial so that learners have enough competence and confidence to teach after graduation. Because knowledge continually expands at a rapid pace, the faculty of lecturers must possess a spirit of self-learning, accumulate knowledge, and practice pedagogical skills.

Lastly, increasing investment in facilities and budget for teaching and giving reasonable employee benefits policies are paramount so that lecturers can make a living from their profession and focus on improving the quality of teaching. Universities in Vietnam need to pay more attention to investing in facilities and budget for the teaching process, including lecture halls, self-study rooms, and modern teaching aids, adding the number of political theory books in libraries, effectively activating the digital library system, and organizing more outdoor lessons. Furthermore, there should be reasonable benefits policies for teachers. Ho Chi Minh wrote: “When financial resources are abundant, the Government must immediately think of teachers who are responsible for training talented people for the Fatherland” [4, p. 309-310]. For lecturers to feel secure and focus on improving teaching quality, their salary must be enough to support themselves and their families. Finally, it’s vital to have policies to attract highly qualified, senior, and experienced political theory experts such as Professors, Associate Professors, and Doctors from outside the educational institution to be visiting lecturers to take advantage of their intelligence.

 Conclusion

Students are the future owners of the country and the “backbone of the nation.” If they are indifferent to politics or have distorted thoughts, Vietnam cannot maintain its socialist orientation in the future. Therefore,  the political theory lecturers have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. The teaching staff must always be conscious of raising expertise and cultivating ethics and political bravery to be worthy of being teachers - a profession often referred to as “the noblest among noble professions, and the most creative among creative professions.” Thus, improving the quality and competency of teachers is an effective method to help Vietnam “on par with the powerful countries in the world” as the will of President Ho Chi Minh.

 

References:

  1. Communist Party of Vietnam. Conclusion of the Secretariat on continuing to innovate the study of political theory in the national education system, No. 94-KL/TW, dated March 28, 2014.
  2. Communist Party of Vietnam. Documents of the 13th National Congress. Vol. I. Hanoi: National Politics, 2021.
  3. Ha The Ngu, Nguyen Dang Tien, Bui Duc Thiep. Ho Chi Minh on education matters. Hanoi: Education, 1990.
  4. Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, Ho Chi Minh Institute and Party leaders: Ho Chi Minh - Biographical Chronicle. Vol.3. Hanoi: National Politics - The Truth,  2016.
  5. Ho Chi Minh: Complete works. Vol. 1; 5; 9; 10; 11; 14. Hanoi: National Politics, 2011.
  6. Phan Ngoc Lien, Nguyen An. Ho Chi Minh Encyclopedia (documents - brief). Vol. 1. Ho Chi Minh with education and training. Hanoi: Encyclopedic dictionary, 2002.
Информация об авторах

PhD student, Department of Political Science, VNU University of Social Science and Humanity, Vietnam, Hanoi

аспирант, факультет политологии, Университет социальных и гуманитарных наук при Вьетнамском национальном университете, Вьетнам, г. Ханой

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