Vietnam will soon introduce statistics and probability to second-grade students, raising concerns among parents who worry that the subjects may be too advanced for their children.
The move, which will take effect beginning in the school year 2020-21, is reportedly part of the government’s efforts to improve its education curriculum to meet the demands of the changing times.
Vietnam’s general education program consists of five years of elementary school, four years of middle school and three years of high school.
Under the current public school curriculum, statistics and probability are introduced in the fourth and 11th grades, respectively.
Starting next year, however, both subjects will be taught in second-grade math classes and recur in textbooks through 12th grade.
While statistics and probability may sound intimidating for students only beginning to work with fundamental operations in math, Do Duc Thai, chief editor of the curriculum, assured parents that lessons will be tailored accordingly.
For one, students will learn the concepts of certainty and probability using six-sided dice.
“They will get to learn that the result [of the roll] can be one of the six sides,” Thai told Tuoi Tre. “People tend to be afraid of such subjects as probability, but it can be as simple as that.”
Learning activities are also designed with simplicity in mind, such as students being asked to count how many of their friends have certain objects such as pencils, erasers or notebooks and compare them to the total number of students in the class.
Despite the assurance, some parents reportedly remain concerned that the topics will be too difficult for their children to grasp.
Nguyen Duc Hoang, principal of a high school in Hanoi, echoed Thai’s words after studying the new curriculum and reading the textbooks himself.
“When parents go over the textbooks and read how the learning activities are designed, they will stop worrying,” he told Tuoi Tre.
Statistics and probability are mathematical tools employed not only in more complicated academic fields but also in daily life — particularly with decision-making.
“Nowadays, there are so many sources of information and issues that not only require retaining knowledge but also analyzing and processing what the students have received,” said Ngo Hoang Long, a professor from Hanoi University of Education, according to Saigoneer. “Statistics and probability will help make students more aware and gain the ability to make better decisions.”