The concept of autonomy in general education most commonly refers to the decentralization of schools in terms of programs, organization, and finance. In Vietnam, the issue of autonomy has been regulated and implemented on different levels of the education system for the last decade (Improve the quality of general education, 2017). Because of the insufficient budget for education, the Vietnamese system has been leaning towards the concept of socialization, which includes promoting self-financed schools aside from public, semi-public, and private schools (Chi, 2018). It follows the trend of American-style education, in which it is treated as a commodity, and a specific education market is established (Chi, 2018).
According to experts, the country has only taken the first steps toward school autonomy, and these steps are generally regarded as successful (Improve the quality of general education, 2017). In order to further develop the strategy, the current state of the Vietnamese education system needs to be analyzed and compared to the American education system with regard to their autonomy.
For the purpose of this research, the ROCCIPI problem-solving methodology will be used. It is a method for understanding problematic behavior that allows researchers to develop effective policy responses to change this behavior (Introduction to the ROCCIPI problem-solving methodology, n.d.). It analyzes seven categories of factors: rules, opportunity, capacity, communication, interest, process, and ideology, divided into two groups: objective and subjective factors.
The objective factors include the factors that can be measured in a quantifiable manner: rules, opportunity, capacity, communication, and process. Rules include laws and social norms that affect the studied behavior, which is analyzed from the perspective of their contribution to the problem (Introduction to the ROCCIPI problem-solving methodology, n.d.). For the purpose of this research, they include legal documents that regulate school autonomy in Vietnam and in the United States. Opportunity refers to the circumstances and probability of schools exercising autonomy while obeying or disobeying the laws.
The term “capacity” is used to address the ability of schools to practice autonomy and includes the obstacles that may impede or encourage such practice. Communication means the effectiveness with which the laws are introduced, and process refers to criteria and procedures that explain the process of decision-making. The subjective factors are those that cannot be measured by quantifiable means: interest and ideology. Interest means the country’s motivation to increase school autonomy, while ideology refers to the values and attitudes that influence this decision.
The legal documents are analyzed from the perspective of their transformation to address the new approach to the concept of autonomy. The Education Law provides sufficient opportunities to form a legal corridor for the realization of school autonomy (Improve the quality of general education, 2017). However, the sub-documents are inconsistent with the spirit of the Education Law and need updating (Improve the quality of general education, 2017). The Education Law only proclaims autonomy for educational institutions but does not specify the level of education to which it applies, which creates legal confusion (Hue, 2019).
For example, the Vietnamese primary schools are currently regulated by Circular No. 41, issued in 2010, which, according to the experts, no longer meets the requirements of the new education program (Ha, 2020). In 2020, the Ministry of Education and Training developed a draft of the Primary School Charter to replace Circular No. 41. It focuses on renovating school management and aims to give primary schools more autonomy (Ha, 2020). For the purpose of this research, the changes in legal documents need to be analyzed in order to determine how the concept of autonomy should be legally implemented.
Chi, D. P. (2018). Autonomy in education in Vietnam. Giaoduc. Web.
Ha, V. (2020). Increase the autonomy of schools and teachers. Thanh Tra. Web.
Hue, T. (2019). The concept of autonomy in education is misinterpreted. Tuoi Tre. Web.
Improve the quality of general education. (2017). Dai Bieu Nhan Dan. Web.
Introduction to the ROCCIPI problem-solving methodology. (n.d.). Legislative Consulting. Web.