As described in the system theory approach, each school is a system comprising a number of inter-related sub-systems (elements). At the same time, each school is considered as a sub-system of larger ones. And only “open” systems can exist for a longer period of time and subsequently grow.
Accordingly, any intended impacts/research on schools must involve an examination of organizational system, functions, products and operations of various school sections and their inter-related relationships. On the other hand, schools should be regarded as an open system, which is under the leadership and management of superior agencies and is in parallel affected by and interacts with other schools, natural and social players as well as local cultural settings. This approach views a school as an education-operating entity/organization with various elements of inputs, processes and operational performance.
From the experiences of GPE-VNEN Project 2012 – 2016, other innovative practices of Vietnam’s general education in recent years as well as the well-set requirements of the new general school curriculum introduced in 2018 by MoET, VIGEF expects to bring impacts, via its activities, on the most fundamental components and relationships, which are laid out in such a way that they can be easily recognized and applied to the progress performance assessment of general schools. They are: Leadership, Teachers, Students, Finance and Facilities, and Relationships with Families and Community, which are to contribute to VINES application in schools. In the course of its activities, VIGEF will also focus on on-going reviews and lessons learnt, which will be the basis for possible subsequent policy recommendations to various management levels on the future legal corridor for VINES.
2. Key expectations from VINES
The support to VINES application will target on the school development, which is built upon the following five fundamental components:
– Organization and Development: School council should be established and operate in accordance with relevant legal provisions; the school principal understands how to make his/her self-assessment for the purpose of his/her personal competency and school development;
– Vision and Mission: The school should have clear, open, coherent and convincing vision and mission; ensures the alignment of the school development to local natural, economic and social conditions; and strengthen its own identity and integration;
– Autonomy: The school should demonstrate its autonomy in finance, human resources and educational activities as prescribed by laws;
– Educational Outcomes: The school should guarantee its effective fulfillment of the school’s vision and mission by developing and implementing its annual activity plan(s) and education program(s), as guided by the principles of democracy, autonomy, accountability and transparency;
– Advocacy for Good Practices: There should be an evidence of good practices replicated and effective cooperation with other schools in the same vicinity and across the country.
– Structure and Qualifications: The school should ensure the teacher quantity, structure and training qualifications as prescribed by legal provisions;
– Educational Methods: There is a proof of educational task performance by applying various forms of teaching organization and methods that stimulate students’ independent, active and self-learning, namely: problem-solving, STEAM teaching, project-and research-based teaching, hands-on method, experimental and career guidance activities, etc; and demonstrated assessment for student progress and introduction of positive disciplines;
– Lifelong Learning: Teachers should work as a collaborative and lifelong-learning team that demonstrates its self-determination and professionalism in implementing school educational programs through professional teacher meetings based on lesson study;
– Adaptability: Teachers should have proven skills of critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, communication and cooperation, information technology and foreign language(s), as well as personal responsibility and cultural sensitivity, etc.;
– Code of Ethics: Teachers should set good examples for students and parents.
– Self-determination: Students demonstrate their confidence/self-respect, and form a teacher-supported self-determined team “of students, for students and by students”;
– Talents: Students regularly participate in various clubs of science, technology, arts and sports, etc. in order to best promote individual talents and abilities;
– 21th Century Skills: Students should be able to apply various advanced educational forms/methods for the development of their 21st century skills, e.g.: self-confidence, critical/creative thinking, problem solving, communication/cooperation, foreign languages, computer skills, and adaptability to changes and sustainable development;
– Health: Students should be provided with the proven development of physical and mental health; and early interventions for those students with specific learning difficulties;
– Children’s Rights: No students who are “left behind” or physically and mentally violated/punished.
2.4. Finance and Facilities
– Finance: From the beginning of the year, the school should develop and carry out its school financial plan(s), which incorporate(s) the principles of cost-effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and lawfulness;
– Building Structures: The school should demonstrate the availability, safety and convienience of building structures: classrooms, library, equipment rooms, toilets, school office/administrative area, water supply system, and space for multi-purpose activities;
– Hygiene/Environment Protection: There should be the presence of a “bright, green, clean, beautiful, safe” school setting; classrooms with sufficient light, ventilation system, safe tables/chairs and audio/visual aids; adequate and separate toilets for teachers, students, males and females, which are regularly kept clean; and availability of waste sorting/treatment system;
– Library: There should be available school/class green and friendly libraries with printed/e-books and internet connection, providing professional and effective services for students and teachers;
– Equipment: The school should have adequate teaching aids for all subjects and experimental activities, including real objects, models, photos/pictures and software, virtual/multimedia devices and computers; and presence of play/sports area with sufficient space and facilities for students’ physical education lessons and extra-curricular activities.
2.5. Relationships with Families and Community
– Trust: The school demonstrates its ability to make families and community understand and agree on its vision, mission, objectives, contents and solutions to education/school renovation;
– Responsibility: Local leaders and (mass) organizations should confirm their responsibilities for engaging in making modifications to school vision, mission and annual activity plan(s)/education program(s); they should be a pro-active members in educational activities;
– Cooperation: Families and members of local (mass) organizations regularly visit and actively cooperate with the school in performing educational activities in home and community settings, experimental activities, career guidance and other collective student activities;
– Support and Efficiency: The school demonstrates its ability to mobilize various social resources, which are utilized in a cost-effective and transparent manner for right purposes; teachers and students participate in community/local activities with high enthusiasm and responsibility;
– Information Exchange: The school and teachers have regular contacts with families and local organizations/individuals in order to engage them in the implementation of educational activities; and the school and teachers show proper management of all inquiries from families and the community.