VietNamNet Bridge – Representatives from schools for the gifted are concerned that they will not be able to properly teach mathematics and computers in the English language in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.
Students learn English in northern Lai Chau Province's Le Quy Don Elite Highschool. The Ministry of Education and Training wants top schools to teach science, maths and computing in English by 2020. (Photo: VNS)
Under the new programme, all schools for the gifted must use English to teach a number of subjects by 2020.
Maths and computers must be taught in English for the 2011-12 academic year and other subjects, including physics, chemistry and biology by 2020.
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien said that most students could not speak and write English fluently and that even the English level of students who have attended the international science Olympiads was low.
Their communications skills are poor, and scores on reading tests low.
Nguyen Hai Chau, head of the ministry's high school development programme, added that Viet Nam's many excellent students could not get scholarships abroad because of their poor English skills.
Using English as the language of instruction will improve their skills and allow them to compete in international and regional competitions, he said.
However, Le Van Luy, rector of Long An Gifted School, said he was concerned about the capacity of English of his school's teachers.
"Most of them only have an A-level certificate of English", he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper, adding that reaching the target of teaching maths and computers in English would be difficult.
Bui Van Trung, vice principal of Hoang Van Thu Gifted School in Hoa Binh Province, voiced similar concerns.
According to Do Ba Khoi, vice principal of the Ha Noi-Amsterdam Gifted School in Ha Noi, which has many resources, his school has only five teachers who teach these subjects in English.
The other obstacle is the level of English of the students themselves.
Khoi said the regulation had set an unrealistic goal.
Nguyen Ba Binh, a teacher at the Gifted High School at Ha Noi University of Pedagogy, said that only teachers who had received training or who teach at foreign schools would be qualified to teach in English.
Chau said the ministry would give priority to more training courses and sending maths and computer teachers abroad to improve their English.
The ministry would also invest further in building facilities and providing teaching equipment for the schools for the gifted.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News