The differences between the programs, contents in the education of high school in Viet Nam and Japan

The differences between the programs, contents in the education of high school in Viet Nam and Japan

  1. Overview about the contents, math program of Viet Nam and Japan:

Between the program of Viet Nam and Japan, there is some similarities in the knowledge and technique. However, the math education of Japan is earlier, more general, deeper and more throughout during the study progress, repeatedly in the circle and deeper in each class and in each grade. The most important different in the math teaching ideology of Japan is to help students to think logically in order to develop mentally, and not just basically teaching to have the fastest results. Compared to program and textbooks of Viet Nam, the ideology and approaches in the textbooks of Japan is clear, short and easy to understand.  

1/ Approaches: Everything is visualized, real life situation, and then leading toward theories and afterward is practice (manually). All the new knowledge is led from visualizing, analyzing, combining, solving problem; especially, students are intrigued to look for a new way to solve the problem, researching for new knowledge by themselves actively, innovatively…on that basis, they can create new knowledge by themselves. This helps the students to understand immediately in the class, memorize them longer and can feel that math is much closer to life, ability to apply math in the real life naturally (Eg: The circle teaching method in the beginning of the 3rd grade, solid axis in the 4th grade…)

2/ Content: the math program of Japan is built earlier in the wide style, and is repeated in each class and grade with the connection and deeper knowledge helping students to memorize easier, longer and have deeper understanding after each lesson. Besides the reality math question, manual work helping students to have deeper understanding about the problem.

Eg: The program added some knowledge about three dimensional geometry such as co-ordination from the 4th grade, studying deeper about the cylinder, area of cylinder…In the math textbook of 4th grade, students are taught about time changes on the same clock when changing the location of the clock as the basis so that the students can have better understanding about the differences in time zone between the countries, the time zone, as the basis for students to have skills to merge into the global. Besides, the students can learn more about the speed units such as km/h, M/minutes, M/second, how to round the numbers…the lessons that only the 7th graders in Viet Nam study.


In the Geometry, the Japanese program is more open than Viet Nam’s. The contents such as polygons, similar figures, and symmetry are taught in primary and mentioned deeper in later grades, meanwhile in Viet Nam, it is not taught until secondary school and high school. This helps students to develop imaginations, over view, inclusive, combining from when they are just little and since it is repeated constantly, students can memorize deeply.

Japan’s program has lessons about connecting figures, students are allowed to join in the activity, helping them better imagination.

3/ Edition: The edition is more accurate in the contents and close to reality, the content is arranged scientific, logically; the pictures are more lively, rich, and close; the words are short; contents mainly are about techniques helping students to approach information easily, regaining all the knowledge with the interests in experiencing and discovering…Especially “Math handbook” in the textbook in each class helping students to learn actively, memorizing techniques, comparing…which is built from the very beginning.    

4/ Techniques: The Japan’s math program focuses on constructing the necessary basic skills in life from the first classes of Primary besides the basic solving skills. However, the skills are not just the formulas to look for a result, but helping students to increase in thinking logically to develop mentally.

Eg: Skills such as counting group objects by counting to 2 and to 5; comparing length of two objects in the case that there is no ruler or exact measure unit; comparing the volume of 2 objects by the simple ways in life; quick calculating skills, silence calculating, rounding skills are applied in calculating in the real life; the skills of observing overall, inclusive, combining, merging in global skills; drawing skills; connecting figures, develop the imagination ability of students through the lessons relating to the real life, convenient for studying integration later. 

  1. General assessment about content, program of ethics education of Viet Nam and Japan

The content of ethics program of Japan is somewhat similar to the program of Viet Nam, suitable with culture, habits and customs of Vietnamese, including 5 main topics throughout the grades. However, the basic different between Japanese ethics program is: Ethics education is taught from kindergarten and most important is that the students can learn from their teachers in the everyday’s activities such as behavior rules and norms carefully; All the subjects have the ethics education mission and everything happens in the daily life, not just in the textbooks, students don’t have to memorize, but focus on training everyday so it becomes their habits; from the habits, it becomes the natural actions, and from natural actions, it becomes themselves. 

(VD: Giờ ăn trưa của học sinh cũng là một tiết học, nơi trẻ em được dạy tính tự lập; biết vệ sinh cá nhân và vệ sinh tập thể; biết chăm sóc bản thân; biết phục vụ bạn bè và thể hiện lòng biết ơn). Học sinh còn được dạy và rèn luyện: trước khi nói, trước khi hành động cần suy nghĩ phán đoán đối tác của mình sẽ suy nghĩ, sẽ phản ứng thế nào? Hay nói khác hơn là phải đặt mình vào vị trí của người khác trước khi nói và hành động để không làm tổn thương đến người khác.

Eg: Lunch for the student is also a lesson, where they are taught to do everything by themselves; learning personal hygiene and cleaning; learning to take care of themselves; learning to serve their friends and show gratitude). Students are taught and trained: before speaking, before acting needs to think of what would the opposites think and respond? Or put it another way, they have to put themselves in other’s shoes.

1/ Approach

The program is built with the idea that students are the one to construct the knowledge directly. Instead of judging  the behavior of others like in Vietnam’s program, ethics program of Japan focuses on helping students to judge their own behavior and let them to study by themselves. By themselves, the student will feel about the topics that they are learning, from there, they will have the correct attitude and treatment to others.

2/ Content

Every little knowledge, skills and ethical behavior, that is taught in the ethic class, is the basic knowledge , skills and behavior needed in the real life. Eg: Students are educated on the humble, traditional, interests in studying and jobs, safety, energy saving and about family. Besides the textbook also instructing how to practice the correct way of behaving to everyone. Along with learning to greet, correct way of using words, eating, making tea, and the students can learn to thanks in different language around the world. This is the first step that allows student to join the global.


In the highschool program, students will learn and practice ethical lesson with a program that is divided into 4 groups, which is ranged from far to close, easy to difficult. The first group is about the behavior that is related to ourselves, the second group is about the behavior that is related to others, the third group is about the behavior that is related to a community, society and group 4 is about the behavior that is related to the natural world and beautiful things above. Students will learn from these 4 groups, but at different age and practice at a different level, constructing for the students the necessary character for any jobs that they can do: keeping the commitment, feel the joy while working, finish what you have started and understand the importance of their works and also other’s works.


3/ Edition

Each book is used in two consecutively (1 and 2; 3 and 4; 5 and 6). From each book, every student can learn and evaluate themselves. The students can also reflect on the materials from the previous year, from there they can see the changes and completion of themselves.

4/ Ethical standards

Japanese’s ethics program focuses on building the necessary characteristics and ethics in life of the students. (Eg: With the group 2, 3 which is about connection with others, community, society, country and humanity, the students from 1 and 2 grade will be instructed to feel the current living environment, what makes them feel satisfied, what needs to be changed. Students can also directly make construction plan about the city that they are living, in the future.

  1. General assessment about contents, programs of science subjects in Viet Nam and Japan

            About the content, there are not so much differences between the science subjects of Viet Nam and Japan, but the contents in Japan’s textbook is much deeper in the background, directs the students to research, to draw their own conclusion and especially is to direct the students to direct them to research on their own from the 3rd grade…

The content, which is being taught repeatedly through many classes, grades, and is deeper as the grade is higher, from there, helping the students to learn systematically and the knowledge is being consolidated and more difficult to be forgotten. In each chapter, the textbook clearly mentions what was taught in the previous class and what will be taught in the future.

Not only providing new knowledge, the program and textbooks also focus on consolidating and systemizing. Each textbook records the most important knowledge of the school year. Besides the basic knowledge, in each part, the textbook has the advanced materials for (and only for) advanced  students and who are interested in the subjects.

Understanding the importance of practicing and applying the knowledge into real life: from the 2nd and 3rd grade, students were able to study different ways to discover the life around them: discovering about the city that they are lving in and dertermining the important locations on the map; distinguish the convienient stores from supermarket; organizing services in the supermarket in order to satisfy the customers. While talking about the animals or trees, students can pratice raising, growing, discovering in real life. In general, all the knowledge is not being forced by the teachers but the students can realize the problem before drawing the final conclusion.


From the 3rd grade, students were able to learn to research, looking into the problem, getting familiar to scientific researching in the beginning. Through the inital researching with the guidance, the students will be able to draw the necessary conclusions from the book. Not only to memorize the knowledge better, the practicing will help the students to train in thinking scientific.

The science subject of the 5th and 6th grades includes more contents about the Chemistry. (Meanwhile, this content is only being taught in Viet Nam from 8th grade).

In the Japanese program, students can directly join in the experiments to see, draw the conclusion and explaining about the phenomenon in life. All the programs focus on thinking ability, student’s imagination rather than guiding the students to systematically looking for the results.

With the policy throughout the kindergarten and highschool is to train a generation of citizens with knowledge, morale, physical, aesthetic and aesthete and heading toward training a world citizens. All the subjects create a synchronous, along with the moral education to train the students to be ones able to understand the nature of the objects, ability to cooperate, sensitive, smart, ability to exchange conversation and convincing, ability to solve and analyze the information, ideas and imagination. Studying from the program adn textbooks like this, the students will be able to become the ones living their lives, realizing their positions, not only acting because of their country but also because of a better world.

                                                                                                Japanese International School