A Comparison of School Science Curricula of Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand

R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami (Lead / Corresponding author), Song Xue, Indah Juwita Sari, Le Hai My Ngan, Vipavadee Khwaengmake, Samia Khan, Nguyen Van Bien, Chatree Faikhamta, Nguyen Thi To Khuyen, Tharuesean Prasoplarb

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study aimed to investigate the science curricula of Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. This study was undertaken to compare science curricula and determine which scientists’ current practices, such as hypothesizing, are represented in science curricula. A cross-case analysis was carried out using the junior science curriculum (ages 12–14) of these countries. The analysis revealed similarities in the science curriculum, including that the purpose of the science curriculum is to develop scientific literacy. The junior secondary science curriculum content tends to consist of biology, physics, chemistry, and earth and space sciences. Students are prescribed no more than 10 hours/week, and each science curriculum displays processes commonly associated with scientific experimentation and, to a lesser degree, modeling. Student-centered learning and inquiry are promoted as the main approaches in the science curriculum, and learning outcomes are assessed by teachers using exam-based and non-exam methods both as a formative and summative assessment. The analysis uncovered key differences. One example of key differences is the purposes of the science curriculum. Indonesia includes spiritual attitude and making decisions in daily life. Vietnam includes awareness of natural science. Thailand includes nationalism, life skills, and creativity. Integrated science is included only in Indonesia’s curriculum. It was found that Indonesian students have more time to learn science than other countries, followed by Vietnamese and Thai students. Vietnam’s curriculum clearly includes practices involving judgment about data, revision of ideas, and constructing explanations. Indonesia promotes a scientific approach. Vietnam promotes the scientific method, whereas Thailand promotes the scientific method and scientific inquiry as to their main pedagogical approaches. Finally, Indonesia and Thailand have large-scale assessments at the national level for graduation requirements on science subjects. However, there is no apparent national science examination in Vietnam at the junior level. These ostensible alignments suggest that science curriculum development is increasingly global and that there is evidence of unified representations of practices associated with science. The study will be of significance to science educators, government ministries, and international bodies of education who seek to develop science curricula.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-82
    Number of pages20
    JournalAsia-Pacific Social Science Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


    • science curriculum
    • comparative research
    • practice
    • Indonesia
    • Vietnam
    • Thailand


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