The Vietnamese Party and State have a long history of working
towards gender equality. In recognition of the fact that gender
inequality is a major cause of poverty, and a major constraint to
sustainable development, they have put in place several important
national policies, for instance, the National Strategy for the
Curriculum Development at Advancement of Women by 2010 and committed to a number of
National Training Institutions significant international obligations such as the Convention on the
in Vietnam Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Despite such effort in establishing a policy framework for gender
equality, gender inequalities are still frequently observed in the
Striving for more society. Gender inequalities, or differences in valuing women and
effective and gender-sensitive men, boys and girls, and treating them unequally in a systematic
manner, have been embedded in the thoughts and behaviors of many
learning and teaching
Vietnamese generations as influenced by the traditional Confucian
doctrine. Particularly in education area, the challenge is these
differences are transmitted not only through textbooks, teaching and
learning materials, but also by teachers themselves, many of whom are
not gender-sensitive. It is because apart from the technical aspects of
the subject contents, learners will also pick up and be strongly
December 2004 influenced by implicit gendered messages.
As a result, there is a great need to raise awareness of policy-makers,
curriculum designers, textbook writers, and teachers to the possible
This publication is made within the framework consequences of gender-blind curricula which are often biased in the
of the NCFAW-UNDP-RNE Project VIE01-015-01 way they present gender roles and relationships.
“Gender in Public Policy”. On this basic, within the framework of the 'Gender in Public Policy'
Project VIE01-015-01 which is supported by the Royal Netherlands
Page 3 Page 4
Embassy and UNDP, and implemented by the National Committee for Table 2: Gender awareness levels in curriculum development.
the Advancement of Women in Vietnam, this publication is intended Gender awareness levels in What does that mean in
to provide a simple guide for reviewing, analyzing and strengthening the curriculum development process terms of outcome levels?
curricula, textbooks and other training resources from a gender
perspective, by using the participatory approach. • Gender neutral: Ensure that curricula • The minimum acceptable
do not include any content outcome of efforts in
Important Gender Information Sources in Vietnam (language, illustrations, concepts, strengthening curricula
data, teaching methods) that portray from a gender
• National Strategy for the Advancement of Women by 2010 and
or promote negative or biased views perspective or
Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women by 2005 about males or females. engendering curricula.
• National Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines in Policy Formulation • Gender-sensitive: Ensure that • The most common
and Implementation, NCFAW, 2004 curricula portray and promote outcome of efforts in
women and men as having equal engendering curricula.
• NCFAW leaflet “Mainstreaming Gender in Policy Formulation
worth, value, respect, opportunities,
and Implementation”, 2004 and outcomes.
• Gender Mainstreaming Workshop Facilitation Manual, NCFAW, 2004 • Gender-transformative: Be proactive • The exceptional and
to build an understanding of the causes impressive outcome of
of gender inequality, challenge efforts in engendering
traditional damaging beliefs and curricula.
Table 1: Changing global trends in curriculum development.
attitudes about men and women, and
vigorously present and promote
Previous trend Current trend positive alternative models where
women and men are equally valued,
respected, have equal opportunities,
Curriculum as a document Curriculum as a process and experience equal outcomes.
Central control Stakeholder involvement
Schooling Lifelong learning What are we looking forward?
Teaching Learning Although gender-transformative curriculum is the most desirable
Rote learning Applied and interactive learning outcome of efforts in engendering curricula, this publication simply
provides some useful guides to trainers/curriculum designers in
Input Outcomes/behavioral change achieving gender-sensitive curricula and teaching methods.
Page 5 Page 6
What is gender-sensitive curriculum development?
Step 1. Assessment of learning needs;
Gender-sensitive curriculum development is a teaching and learning reviewing and identifying important course-
related-gender issues and/or course contents
approach that aims to enhance gender awareness or gender that are not gender-sensitive.
sensitiveness of all stakeholders of a training institution, particularly
that of teachers and learners. In gender-sensitive curriculum and Step 6. Revising curriculum Step 2. Defining learning
gender-sensitive teaching methods, gender-biased text, concepts, data based on evaluation results. objectives (knowledge,
The ultimate aim is to enable skills and attitudes) from
or illustrations, etc are not only avoided but should be replaced with learners to think and act in a a gender perspective.
alternatives which recognize the equal value, status, opportunities and gender-responsive manner in
outcomes of women and men, boys and girls in any setting, e.g. in their respective work area.
monitoring by key Step 3. Developing new
family, school, workplace or community. stakeholders course materials or
Step 5. Evaluation of the strengthening existing
course contents from a
How to develop gender-sensitive curricula in a gender perspective, with
materials from a gender
participatory way? perspective. Identification
various stakeholders’ of gender-sensitive
involvement and using teaching methods to
Gender-sensitive participatory curriculum development requires interactive methods. present the contents.
teachers/ curriculum designers to look at two important aspects:
Step 4. Pilot implementation of
1. Taking a gender perspective (or gender lens) at every stage of the the new or revised gender-
curriculum development process, from assessment of learning
needs, through setting learning objectives, developing/revising
curriculum, pilot implementation and evaluation.
Figure 1: Gender-sensitive participatory curriculum development cycle
2. Applying a learner-centered and participatory training and evaluation
approach in the whole curriculum process. It is because the
participatory approach aims at creating the best atmosphere for
learners, especially adult learners, by ensuring that they are actively a) Assessment of learning 1 a) Identify, list and prioritize major
involved in all aspects of the learning process. Course participants needs of your learners areas of professional interests and
are encouraged to identify their learning needs and objectives, from a gender perspective needs, with particular attention to
discuss how training activities should be carried out, select relevant if developing a new gender issues.
learning methods, continuously evaluate the learning process and b) Review the existing course
share responsibility for the learning process and results. The materials to identify contents (texts,
participatory approach, therefore, requires teachers to have b) Identifying contents of illustrations, data, etc.) that
appropriate training styles, techniques and facilities. an existing curriculum that explicitly or implicitly reflect
(Source: Gender Mainstreaming Workshop Facilitation Manual, NCFAW, 2004) are not gender-sensitive gender stereotypes.
Page 7 Page 8
2) Identify, list and prioritize gaps 4) Carry out a gender awareness Box 1. Defining learning objectives
in knowledge, skills and attitudes. survey amongst your learners and Example from Lecture 1 - Sociology on Social Structure
3) Collect information, data a gender-based analysis of their (Sociology Course, Vietnam Youth Academy)
about gender-related issues in major work-related duties and
the learning and working
tasks, if possible. Before After
environment of your learners
(via Internet search, primary and 5) Produce an overview of major Objective defined Objective defined from the learners’
secondary sources, etc.) which from the trainer’s perspective
can be used in a later stage as perspective
examples, case studies or topics 6) Discuss the overview of major
Equip learners with At the end of the course:
for discussion. learning needs with key stakeholders.
knowledge on the • Knowledge: 100% of learners have a
significance of social deep and detailed understanding of the
When setting up objectives for either a
Step 2. role of social structure components, the
newly developed or a revised structure components.
role of men and women in social
Defining learning objectives curriculum, the curriculum designers Learners will relate development, the status and role of
(knowledge, skills and should raise the following three this with their own gender equality in the society.
attitudes) from a gender questions:
work to find suitable • Skills: 80% of learners possess necessary
perspective 1) What learners need to know at the measures and policies skills in analyzing and responding in
end of the course? certain situations and social relationships.
Based on results of step 1, the influencing youth in
2) What learners need to be able to do • Attitude: 90% of learners have a positive
objectives can be defined to order to promote their
at the end of the course? and gender-responsive attitude in finding
address the training needs of potentiality in social
3) What attitudes learners are expected the most suitable approach and contents
learners. It is far more effective development targets. in youth educational management.
to have at the end of the course?
if objectives are written in
In this case, we would like to
terms of what “learners will be change gender-neutral or -blind Step 3. etc.) that are not gender-sensitive
able to do after the course” attitudes and promote gender- Developing new course need to be revised from a gender
rather than what “trainers will sensitive, gender-responsive or materials or strengthening perspective to achieve the set
do during the course”. This can gender-transformative behaviors. existing materials from a learning objectives. Where
be done by using a verb to gender perspective. appropriate, curriculum designers
express an action in the Make your objectives can integrate relevant data,
Following and addressing the
SMART: examples or case studies to
objective, emphasizing a results of step 1 and 2, new course
• Specific • Relevant highlight gender issues and
visible, measurable change in contents need to be developed or
• Measurable • Time-bound potential solutions in the
existing course contents (texts,
attitude (see Box 1) . • Achievable professional area (Figure 2).
illustrations, data, training methods,
Page 9 Page 10
Compiling detailed course contents
learning objectives When compiling course contents, besides deliberately choose to use
gender-sensitive language, illustrations, data, etc., a curriculum
developer should identify and pay more attention to related gender
issues in the specific area, and raise the awareness of learners about
Gender-sensitive learning and the existence of and possible solutions to these issues. For example,
teaching materials while presenting the social structure components, trainers may draw
Gender-sensitive attention to the role of men and women in social development, the
teaching methods existing inequality between men and women in social structure, etc. In
Gender-sensitive course doing so, learners should be assisted to find out the underlying causes
contents of those inequalities (incl. social perception, male chauvinism,
economic condition, labor market etc.). At the end of the course,
learners are expected to change their attitude and working style to
become more gender-responsive.
Figure 2. Gender-sensitive learning objectives determine course Course contents should reflect major learners’ interest and needs.
contents, learning and teaching materials and teaching methods. Learners will learn more effectively if they are able to relate course
activities to their own environment and apply them in their present jobs.
Choose learning materials Selection of teaching methods
It is important to choose a diversity of resources (library books, The selection of teaching methods depends on the specific course
resource centers, websites etc.), that provide flexible, diverse, up-to- contents. For example, when discussing about the roles of family
date and relevant materials for the course contents. There are two members (topic “Family Sociology”), teacher can use a role play,
kinds of materials: following by group work and plenary discussion.
• Learning specified materials: academic textbooks (theories), case Four main categories of teaching methods:
studies, and articles in scientific journals. 1. Discovery methods: learners are encouraged to explore, search for
• Real-life materials: local reports, publications on different topics knowledge, practice skills and get lessons learnt (e.g. projects,
(government laws, policies, gender mainstreaming guidelines field visits, surveys).
etc.), relevant professional studies/reports taking into account a 2. Participatory methods: learners actively participate in the learning
gender perspective, articles in newspapers, magazines and other environment, groups share insights and learn from each other (e.g.
references. group work, discussion, debates, seminars).
Page 11 Page 12
3. Presentation methods: structured presentations by teachers or Some tips for improving learners’ • Ask for feedback/questions
learners (lectures, oral presentations, video). motivation in large classes: by 5-minute paper at the end of
4. Application methods: learners apply and test what they have learnt the class
• Break class into small groups. • Welcome questioning during
by contributing ideas/observations during the class or in writing
(exercises, practice, role-plays, essays). • Ask learners to discuss, class time and encourage learners
summarize, or give their views to solve a problem together
and perspectives on readings and • Vary teaching activities: e.g.
Step 4. assignments; choose people at lecture, questions and answers,
Learners learn more random. illustrations
Pilot implementation of new
or revised gender-sensitive
curriculum • From the known to the
unknown Step 5
The best way to test a new or • Goal/Outcome: to which extent
• From the real experience to
revised course is by teaching it. Evaluation of the course have the learning objectives been
Suitable time should be arranged contents from a gender achieved (knowledge, skills and
to enable key stakeholders to • Use gender-sensitive language perspective, with various attitude)? Is there an observable
participate in the try-out. and examples as often as stakeholders' involve- change of attitude amongst learners?
• Select appropriate groups of possible. Identify opportunities ment, using interactive Is there any behavioral change or plan
learners for the pilot teaching. If to help learners see the to change in their workplace
possible, each course should be issue/problem through a gender towards a more gender-responsive
tested in 2-3 classes attended by lens. Provide further analysis, Evaluation helps us to find practice?
explanation and conclusion if out to which extent gender-
different groups of learners. • Contents: the suitability of course
appropriate and within the time- sensitive learning objectives
• Prepare necessary training contents with respect to learners'
frame of the topic. have been achieved, and
tools and equipments: white needs, their level of understanding,
• Learners’ responses and other make necessary adjustments professional aspects, etc.
board, flipchart, projector,
stakeholders’ comments during for improving the course.
class should be recorded for
• Run the course as instructed in further finalization of the Following are some Participation of gender consultans in
the curriculum design, following curriculum. Questionnaires may suggestions to improve the the evaluation process, together with
the learning objectives be used to collect opinions from evaluation of gender- the institution's Scientific Council
(knowledge, skills, attitude). learners. sensitive curricula: and Training Department.
Page 13 Page 14
Evaluation results and related recommendations of stakeholders, such of key gender issues Learners should be able to do (skills):
information (e.g. feedback as the Scientific Council, gender related to the topic • Process information, analyse cases.
obtained from learners' consultants and NCFAW, etc.) are Skills - for a better Implement well land procedures when
questionnaires, issues raised useful sources for further revising command of relevant applying rights and obligations for land users.
or observed during class, curriculum. analytical skills,
Learners are expected to be able to (attitude):
especially from a
gender perspective • Convince people of the importance of
Step 6. Attitude - aiming for equal access to and control over land and
gender responsive land use of sons and daughters when dealing
Revising curriculum based with land heritage issues.
on evaluation results
Step 3 The following case studies to highlight the
You should now revisit the The process of change is an essential, issue of “women and land use rights” have
steps in the gender- non-stop learning process that been incorporated into the topic:
sensitive participatory requires adequate time, resources, and 1. Ms B got married in commune A. She is a
curriculum development commitment from different leadership primary school teacher. She needs
cycle (see Figure 1). levels and key stakeholders. agricultural land and sends a letter of request
gender-sensitive to the commune chairman. Will Ms .B
Box 2: Gender-sensitive curriculum development process contents, applying receive allocated land?
Example from the course on “Land Use Law”, 2004 gender-sensitive 2. Mr. C had 3 children, 2 daughters and 1 son.
National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA) teaching methods). In 2000, Mr C died without leaving behind a
testament. He owned one house on a plot of
Step 1 As a result of a formal training need 300m2. The son wants to be given the whole
assessment amongst most learners (53% are plot. The two daughters request for sharing
An assessment of
women; 47% are men), two topics were the heritage. Is the request right or wrong?
learning needs identified for gender mainstreaming efforts:
related to the Step 4 The new/revised curriculum was taught to
• Equal rights to land ownership of husbands learners under the observation of key
gendered dimensions Pilot implementation
and wives; stakeholders for comments. Participatory
of the Land Use Law of the new or revised
• Daughters and sons have equal rights to way of teaching (group discussion on case
inherit land from their parents. curriculum
studies, presentation, Q&A) was used.
Step 2 New knowledge, skills and attitudes Step 5 A consultation workshop was held to get
Setting learning objectives that are included in the course: comments on the newly developed/revised
objectives in terms of: Learners should understand (knowledge): gender-sensitive curriculum from
Knowledge - a better • The causes of existing gender inequalities in stakeholders (gender consultants and related
understanding land use (e.g. why do only sons inherit land?). government officers).
Page 15 Page 16
Some common problems in the curriculum revising process:
• The expectations and objectives are too ambitious and unrealistic; Participatory gender-sensitive curriculum development is an
important and continuous learning process which requires plenty
• Poor planning and jneffective use of resources;
of time, resources and commitment from all stakeholders (i.e.
• Lack of participation by the stakeholders due to lack of managers, teachers, curriculum designers, learners, donor
commitment, motivation and enthusiasm; agencies, etc.). To ensure success, teachers are to:
• Constraints imposed by the education system; • Avoid the use of gender discriminating language, texts and
• Lack of resources, time and funds. expressions
• Enhance the use of sex-disaggregated data, suitable illustrated
pictures and examples that promote women and men as having
Some practical tips for compiling a flexible course book
equal worth, value, respect, opportunities and outcomes
• Instead of using a bound copy, try using a ring binder. This
• Ensure the active participation and contribution of both male
enables teachers to add and remove teaching materials as
and female learners during classes
required or adjust lessons more easily. It means that, while
keeping basic academic theory, new knowledge can be included, then, it is more likely that our learners, as future policy makers
for instance, relevant and up-to-date materials, articles and data and implementers, will possess necessary knowledge, skills and
can be integrated into the course contents to highlight some attitudes in a gender-responsive manner. This will in turn ensure
gender issues related to the topic. that future development policies, programs and projects meet the
• The teaching materials can be needs and priorities of all citizens, realizing the goals of
organized either per topic, per lesson or “Wealthy People, Strong Nation, Just, Democratic and Civilized
in chronological order. Ensure that Society”.
topics are ordered in a logical way and
start at the current knowledge level of
• Use learners’ knowledge, opinions to
diversify and prove theory in lessons.
• Prepare a list of references related
to the course topic and relevant gender
issues for further reading.
Page 17 Page 18
References Social Forestry Support Program (Helvetas Vietnam). 2001. 10 Key Stages
towards Effective Participatory Curriculum Development. Hanoi.
Centre for Reproductive and Family Health and New Zealand World Bank. 1999. Gender-based Violence: a Case of Viet Nam. Hanoi.
Embassy. 2001. Domestic Violence against Women and Attitudes,
World Bank. 2000. Engendering Development. Washington D.C.
Practices of Health Workers. Hanoi.
World Bank and Viet Nam Lawyers Association. 2000. Executive
FAO. 1998. Participatory Curriculum Development in Agricultural
Summary. Research Work on “Equality of Economic Opportunity
Education. A Training Guide. Rome.
for Women under Viet Nam Law and Its Implementation in Fact”.
FAO. 2001. Viet Nam through the Lens of Gender: Five Years Later. Hanoi.
Results from the Second Viet Nam Living Standards Survey.
Website resources for topics on gender, education and
April. Hanoi (Unpublished document).
development in Vietnam
Hood, Cecil. 2000. Gender Issues in the Administration of the Land
▪ Asian Development Bank: http://www.adb.org/vrm
Law in Viet Nam. Hanoi: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. ▪ Environment and Development in Action Vietnam:
Kabeer, Naila and Tran Thi Van Anh. 2000. Leaving the Rice Fields
but not the Countryside: Gender, Livelihood Diversification and ▪ FAO: http://www.fao.org.vn
Pro-Poor Growth in Rural Viet Nam. Geneva: United Nations ▪ National Library of Vietnam: http://www.nlv.gov.vn
Research Institute for Social Development.
▪ Oxfam UK: http://www.oxfam.org.uk
NCFAW. 2000. Situation Analysis and Policy Recommendations to
Promote the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality in Viet ▪ United Nations Development Program: http://www.undp.org.vn
Nam, Hanoi. • VUFO/NGO Resource Centre: http://www.ngocentre.netnam.vn
NCFAW Project. 2004. National Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines, • World Bank/Vietnam Development Information Center:
NCFAW Project. 2004. Gender Mainstreaming Workshop Facilitation
Manual, Hanoi. Interesting websites on education:
NCFAW Project. 2004. Gender Mainstreaming Leaflet, Hanoi. ▪ Stanford University Newsletter on teaching:
NCFAW Project. 2004. Participatory, Gender-Sensitive Curriculum http://www.ctl.stanford.edu
Development Workshop. Hanoi, March 2004 ▪ Center for teaching Excellence: http://www.edu/cte/CATs
Social Forestry Support Program (Helvetas Vietnam). 2002. SFSP • Harvard University: http://bokcenter.harvard.edu
Teaching Methodology Handbook, Learner-Centered Teaching Interesting website on gender:
Methods, Vaduz July 2002.
Siyanda, mainstreaming gender equality: http://www.siyanda.org
Page 19 Page 20
First of all, we would like to express our deep gratitude to Ms. National Committee for the Advancement of Women
Tran Mai Huong - Deputy National Project Director for her
overall support in the development of this publication. We NCFAW-UNDP-RNE Project
sincerely thank the Project Team, especially, Ms. Kristen Pratt - “Gender in Public Policy” VIE 01-015-01
Senior Technical Adviser, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy - National
Project Manager, and Ms. Nguyen Thu Hang - National Project
Facilitator for their professional comments and editing, without Office:
their support this publication could not have been produced. 39 Hang Chuoi, Hanoi, Viet Nam
Secondly, we are highly indebted to our colleagues at the four Tel: (84 4) 971 1349/50
training institutions, Ho Chi Minh Political Academy, National Fax: (84 4) 971 1348
Academy for Public Administration, Youth Union Academy and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's Union Cadre School, who tirelessly cooperated with us email@example.com
in applying methods of participatory gender-sensitive curriculum
In charge of publication: Mai Quynh Giao
Last but not least, our thanks go to the National Academy for In charge of contents: Tran Mai Huong
Public Administration and the Youth Union Academy for Editing: Nguyen Thi Thuy
providing examples that have been used in this publication. Nguyen Thu Hang
Dr. Nguyen Thi Loan and Sylla Pahladsingh Proof reading: Nguyen Thu Hang