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Abstract: This article deals with the passive learning style adopted by many students in the higher education system in Vietnam. This learning style is claimed as no longer inappropriate, or even dangerous for the development of students in the contemporary society, especially at work and in life after graduation. One of the common explanations for this passiveness is the cultural features of the Confucian heritage culture which is claimed to shape students’ learning style. Many scholars hold a negative view on this “cultural” learning style. By looking at different claims and assertions on different education stakeholders, including students themselves, their families, the educational management system, policy makers and university lecturers, this article investigates in depth the issue of existing problems in the system relating to students’ study. It concludes that there are evidences of cultural factors affecting student learning in class, but the decisive factors affecting students’ learning style come from the educational system. With the existing situation in the higher education system in Vietnam, students will continue to adopt the passive learning style, even though they want to adopt it or not. Much work needs to be done for the system before it is hoped that students can be able to develop their autonomous and independent learning and researching style.Keywords: Higher education, learning style, Vietnam, Vietnamese students, passiveness.
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