On Saturday 28th March, our History students went on a journey to find out about a central topic that we have been debating in the History Club. We wanted to discuss and ask “How is knowledge from the past used in universities today?”
We began our day with a tour of the Temple of Literature. We were shown around the grounds by a local expert and learnt many things about this ancient university. The tour guide was pleasantly surprised by our students’ pre-existing knowledge about, and enthusiasm for, ancient Confucianism. We spent some time deliberating Confucianism’s significance in the 21st Century and it was fun to see the passion each student had on the topic. As the Temple became more crowded, I was impressed with the polite and courteous manner that our students showed to the many visitors that we encountered. For a brief moment we turned our attention to the pros and cons of museums and their educational value in Hanoi today. We all learned a great deal about the history of this magnificent place.
Afterwards, we continued on to the British University Vietnam to gain an understanding of an institution of higher education today. The students participated in a university-level lecture and soaked up the richness of the academic environment. Following this, they were divided into teams. Each group was invited to take part in a competition to create an advertisement. The task was to build a real world “print ad” for either the Temple of Literature or British University Vietnam. As the creativity flowed, the students worked together to apply what they had discovered during the lecture and at the Temple of Literature. The BUV staff were especially impressed with BIS Hanoi students’ eagerness to excel in the activities set out for them. We learned how a contemporary university functioned and were impressed by the high-tech facilities of a modern university.
At the end of the day’s proceedings, some students were convinced education had retained many of the same features as in the past, while others noticed great changes between the two periods. We all agreed the day had been a success and that whether past or present, education is and always has been of great importance to Vietnamese culture and life.