Promoting Gender Equality in Education in Vietnamese High Schools

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Mai, TTD

This research study examines the issue of gender equality in high schools in Vietnam through the lenses of Vietnamese educators and Vietnamese students and compares the situation in that country with measures taken in England to promote gender equality in education. The sample consisted of staff and students in Vietnam and staff in England. In order to achieve the required in-depth analysis of the social experience of students and educators the research approach employed was qualitative and the main research tools were semi-structured interviews. Data was analysed by the combination of grounded theory and narrative analysis.\ud The main findings of the research were threefold: firstly, dichotomies exist between what Vietnamese educators espouse and what they enact in terms of gender equality, thus revealing a critical disjunction between policy and practice; secondly, embedded gender stereotypes of both educators and students exist in Vietnamese high schools which place women at a disadvantageous position; thirdly, the curriculum operant in Vietnamese high schools is problematic in that it fails to challenge gender stereotypes and reinforces traditional views of girls and women. In addition, the comparative element in the research reveals many similar beliefs about the theories of gender and education in Vietnam and England such as the acknowledgement of the role of education in promoting gender equality and a commitment by both government agencies and schools to guarantee gender equality between boys and girls. Nonetheless, many interesting differences between the two countries emerged in dealing with gender issues attributable to the different culture norms in the two nations.\ud Recommendations include the suggestions that the Vietnamese government should undertake more significant steps to target gender inequalities by issuing further legislation regarding gender equality in both education and in the wider society in order to close the gap between policy and practice. The researcher also offers the recommendation to improve the training of Vietnamese school leaders and teachers in terms of gender equality, especially in relation to the learning activities provided in schools. In addition, the researcher suggests amending the Vietnamese curriculum in order that it should become more gender neutral. Finally, the researcher suggests that Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programmes in Vietnam should be developed further in order to give greater emphasis to gender issues in the curriculum and to encourage practical classroom strategies to address such issues in the educational environment.
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