Nov 9, 2012

Vietnam - English teaching programs mushrooming in big cities

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VietNamNet Bridge – Most of the primary schools in Hanoi now run the international English teaching programs together with the standard program set up by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET).

Rushing to learn English

Under the MOET’s program on teaching foreign languages in the national educational system in 2008-2020, students from third grade would learn English at school.

However, in fact, not only third and subsequent graders, but the students, who begin going to school, now also learn English under the programs arranged by the schools where they go to.

Vice Headmaster of the Trung Van School in Tu Liem district Giang Thanh Thuy said the school’s first and second graders now follow Phonics English teaching program.

Nguyen Thi Xuan Lan, Headmaster of the Khuong Thuong School, also said the English teaching in accordance with Phonics curriculum for the last five years. The curriculum has been provided by VP Box Company.

Lan went on to say that all the schools in Dong Da district all run extra English teaching programs to help first and second graders get familiar with the subject.

A parent whose child goes to the Ngoc Thuy Primary School in Gia Lam district said that the first and second graders of the school now follow either Language Link or Phonics, and third graders, besides the MOET’s standard curriculum, have to learn English with Phonics as well.

Thuy of Trung Van School said though the English programs are not compulsory for first and second graders, most of the students have registered the English learning. The teachers are the school’s teachers who have attended training courses to obtain better knowledge and new pedagogical methods.

Students have two English lessons a week, for which they have to pay 50,000 dong in tuition.

Since the 2012-2013 academic year, students would have four English lessons a week with Vietnamese teachers and the other four lessons with Australian teachers provided by the school’s partner. Therefore, the tuition has increased to 120,000 dong.

Meanwhile, the students of the Thai Thinh Primary School in Dong Da district reportedly pay 150,000 dong a month for two lessons a week. A parent of a Hoang Dieu School’s student said he was asked to pay 6 million dong for one-year English learning, or 600,000 dong a month.

How high are the teachers’ qualifications?

Lan affirmed that her students have been very interested with the international English curriculums, while they also have the opportunities to talk with native speakers. This explains why parents all let their children to attend the extra English classes. The standard curriculums compiled by MOET are believed to be too focusing on grammar.

However, some parents have complained that their children have been forced to follow the English teaching program, though they don’t want to. The parents said they still have doubts about the teachers’ qualification.

Phuong, whose daughter goes to the Ngoc Thuy Primary School, said that the girl, who began learning English with American teachers from an early age, discovered that the teachers at the school had bad pronunciations.

“I reported this to the school and asked for another teacher,” he said.

Phuong also thinks that with 60 students in every class, a teacher would not have time to take care for everyone.

“An ideal class should comprise of 25 students only,” he said.

Meanwhile, another parent said though paying 6 million dong a year for the child’s English study at the school, she still brings the child to an English center as well to be sure that the child can learn in a best environment.

Van Chung

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