Vietnam – Teaching the Vietnam War

Vietnamese history teachers struggle to teach the Vietnam War It’s 35 years since the Vietnam War, in which the might of the US Army experienced a humiliating reversal. Yet despite the proximity of the war, and the abundance of local sources, the teaching of the subject is in crisis.

With a fact-led curriculum, and poor standards of pedagogy, Vietnamese students are bored. 15 per cent scored zero in recent university exams, and a third of teachers say they dislike their subject.

Some academics feel there are more sinister reasons why the subject is having a tough time. They believe that with its drive for modernisation and capitalist agenda, Vietnam’s socialist government believes switching on students to a heroic victory against the Americans makes poor economic sense.

There is disquiet too amongst the country’s veterans, thousands of whom still suffer from the use of chemical weapons. They feel the curriculum is whitewashing the civil-war nature of the conflict, in which north and south Vietnamese fought on opposite sides.

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