American private university Fulbright will teach Marxism-Leninism in Vietnam

By Vi Vu   August 5, 2017 | 10:58 am GMT+7

‘They are part of history and there’s no reason to remove them from history.’

Fulbright has received a lot of public attention as the first private non-profit American university licensed in Vietnam, and many are curious what it is going to teach. 

Like any other university in Vietnam, its curriculum will include Marxism, Leninism and Ho Chi Minh ideology, the school’s president Dam Bich Thuy said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday. 

“They are part of history and there’s no reason to remove them from history,” she said, as cited by local media.

But the school will use a different teaching method, she said.

“If we include Ho Chi Minh ideology in the teaching of Vietnamese history or Vietnamese literature, I hope that students will feel more interested in the next several years,” Thuy said. The ideology was born in "a period Vietnamese people should be proud of." 

Meanwhile, Karl Marx will be featured alongside other important German philosophers for students to understand why Marxism emerged when it emerged. 

Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh ideology are compulsory subjects at all universities in Vietnam while those pursuing them as a four-year degree can study for free. But most students consider the current teaching too “dry”, hard to understand and many just learn to pass the tests.

Thuy said her school will offer sample classes to let students decide if they want to join.

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Dam Bich Thuy (C) receives a grant from the U.S. government for Fulbright University of Vietnam in June. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Tung

Fulbright University Vietnam will receive 60 first students for its master program in public policy this September. All of them are on a full scholarship.

Its undergraduate program is expected to start in April next year.

The school’s opening in Vietnam has been met with mixed reactions.

On one hand, the school is hoped to bring high quality American style education to Vietnam, which currently ranks fifth among countries with the most students in the U.S.

Then, there was a lot of controversy when it was announced that the school's Board of Trustees would be chaired by Bob Kerrey, who led a U.S. SEAL force to raid a neighborhood in the Mekong Delta’s Ben Tre Province on February 25, 1969. Vietnamese sources said 21 civilians, including elders, women and children, were “massacred barbarously.”

Following widespread calls for him to resign, it remains unclear if Kerrey has continued his role at the school.