VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has decided to verify the qualification of general school English teachers in a plan to ensure that the teaching staff can meet the required standards. However, it’s still unclear what will come after the verification.
30 percent of English teachers need interpretation
A MOET’s report showed that by the end of June 2012, Vietnam had had 1062 out of the 11,784 working primary school English teachers meeting B2 and 2785 meeting B1 level in accordance with European standards. Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of current English teachers have university degree or higher degree granted by Vietnamese universities.
In Hanoi, the city’s authorities have pointed out that the English teachers at general schools are still bad at listening, speaking and pronunciation.
A survey has found that only 40 percent of English teachers can listen and understand the lessons given by foreign experts, 30 percent of teachers understand the lessons in foreign languages, while the other 30 percent nearly don’t catch the main ideas of the lessons, and they needed translation.
Listening, speaking and pronunciation skills have been found as the biggest problems of English teachers, while these are the most important skills for learners, especially for primary school students, who begin learning a new language.
The noteworthy thing is that the unqualified teachers can be seen not only in rural areas, but also in big cities. Only the schools for the gifted, or high-quality schools have English teachers with really high qualifications.
Hoang Tat Truong, former Dean of the English Department of the Foreign Language University, a member school of the Hanoi National University, also said that though the qualification of English teachers at the school has been improved, some still don’t have good skills.
Truong said that he once cooperated with some lecturers when compiling exam questions. He estimated that 40 percent of the teachers and lecturers with the capability at an average level could also join the council of compiling exam questions.
When asked to give detailed comments about the actual qualification of English teachers at non-foreign language majoring schools, he said 30 percent of teachers are excellent, 30 percent good, while the remaining are weak.
Truong said he can see a lot of problems in selecting foreign language teachers for schools. A lot of English teachers graduated from Russian faculty of universities and only attended some basic English training courses.
Meanwhile, a lot of English majoring graduates have become redundant because of the oversupply and many of them are now working as politics teachers.
Diseases found, but how to cure?
Under the national project on teaching and learning foreign languages in the national educational system in 2008-2020, foreign language teachers must have the foreign language capability higher by two grades than the students.
For example, the lecturers at universities and vocational schools must have C1 (fifth grade) in accordance with the European standards at least.
MOET has promised to give financial support to universities to send teachers to short term training courses overseas (3 months) and long term courses (6 months – one year). Each of school can send one key teacher to attend the training courses overseas every year in 2013-2015.
However, doubts have been raised about the feasibility and the efficiency of the program. Only one lecturer is sent a year. Will the only lucky lecturer be able to undertake all the training works of a faculty? Which agency would come forward and verify the qualification of the lecturers to return from overseas training courses?
Nang Luong Moi
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