Staff at a Ly Thuong Kiet book store estimated that there are some 10,000 reference books at the shop, which is actually much less than the number available on the market. A saleswoman at the store said that students ask about many books that are not available at the market.
When a client asked for reference books for 12th grade students, the saleswoman offered three sets of books (with 6-7 books for every set) written by famous authors.
Le Ngoc Bao, a Thanh Binh Private High School student, was looking for reference books to prepare for her chemistry final, but she does not know which one to choose.
“There are too many kinds of books, which makes students confused : the books published by central publishing houses, by local education and training departments, local publishing houses, and books written by different authors,” observed Le Pham Hung, a literature teacher of the Hanoi-Amsterdam Gifted School.
Vo Hoang Minh, a book store customer, only purchases books written by famous authors. Even with that in mind, he finds books with the same author and content, but different in design and publishing dates and has no idea which one to buy.
A teacher noted that it seems to be easier to write a book nowadays, in comparison to the past, when authors had to spend a lot of energy to write. That may explain why there are so many books and why authors can write so many.
The high season of selling reference books has begun, as high school students rush to buy texts in preparation for final exams in June. Therefore, publishing houses have launched many books to attract customers.
The Education Publishing House, for example, released a set of books that reviews lessons for six subjects and sells for 135,000 dong. The publishing house has also joined forces with Gia Dinh House to release another set for high school final exams preparation, which sells at 270,000 dong per set.
A set of 18 books for high school exam prep, published by Can Tho Book and School Teaching Aid Company, is priced at 505,000 dong. There are many more sets of books to help with final exams, published by the publishing houses belonging to universities and junior colleges.
Educators are skeptical of the quality. One work introduces itself as the “necessary document for 12th grade students, who are going to take final exams,” but it only includes mathematics questions and answers. A teacher from Phu Nhuan High School noted that the book’s content is far too simple, and that people should download mathematics questions and answers from the Internet instead of buying the book.
Many books have been printed carelessly, with many spelling and printing errors. Authors and publishers seem to have rushed publication to serve students for the June exams. Education experts ors also noted that the contents of many books are very similar, revealing that the authors just copied from each other.
Source: Tien phong, Saigon tiep thi