VietNamNet Bridge – The lack of foreign language teachers has been pointed out as the main factor that threatens the success of foreign language teaching programs.
2011 is the first year in the 2011-2015 period, when Vietnam carries out the 10-year foreign language teaching program to general school students on a large scale, and the program on providing intensive foreign language courses to students at different training levels.
However, many educators have raised doubts about the feasibility of the programs and think that this is a hasty decision to begin the program right in 2011, when Vietnam is still seriously lacking foreign language teachers.
Leaders of the Ministry of Education and Training themselves admitted that the lack of teachers is the main obstacle for the implementation of the programs.
The tests conducted recently show that many English teachers in the localities carrying out the program on teaching English to primary school students on a trial basis, shows that the English skills of the teachers are even lower than the required standards set up for students by the program.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Hung from the program’s standing committee, of the 600 surveyed primary school teachers, most of them have the A1 level, while 260 have A2 level.
In order to implement the project on teaching English at grammar school, Vietnam needs some 10,000 English teachers for primary schools.
According to Professor Nguyen Loc, Deputy Head of the Education Science Institute, there are about 4000 teachers who teach English as an optional subject at primary schools. Loc thinks that the number of teacher is just enough for the first phase of the program’s implementation.
In 2011-2012, when the English teaching is carried out on a larger scale at 20 percent of primary schools, Vietnam would need 1700-2000 more teachers a year.
At present, in many localities, a lot of English teachers have never been well schooled in teaching English. Meanwhile, a lot of secondary school teachers have been used to teach English to primary school students, even though the teachers have never been trained in teaching English to children and they do not have knowledge about the learners – children.
Meanwhile, the schools which produce English teachers, remains modest.
The Da Nang Foreign Language University has been pioneering in training students to become primary school English teachers. Meanwhile, most of other universities and junior colleges have not enrolled students for the study branches.
Dr Bui Van Ga, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, has also pointed out that while schools set up required standards for graduates, in the last academic year, up to 80 or 90 percent of schools could not meet the standards, and the main problem was in the foreign language teaching and learning.
In 2011, 18 universities and junior colleges joined the foreign language project 2020, which aims to provide enough English teachers who have high qualifications, building up the curricula to train English teachers and purchase teaching aids, worth nearly 100 billion dong
Under the ambitious plan on teaching foreign languages to students, in 2009, Vietnam began on the trial basis the 10-year foreign language teaching program to grammar school, and teaching foreign language in accordance with new curricula to 20 percent of third graders.
From 2011 to 2015, Vietnam carries out the 10-year teaching program to general school students on a large scale, teaching mathematics in foreign language at 30 percent of high schools in big cities and urban areas.
The number of school would increase by 10-20 percent every year, while more subjects would be taught in foreign languages.
The report by the Ministry of Education and Training shows that in 2008-2010, the English teaching to third graders have been carried out in nearly 100 primary schools nationwide.