Schools fall foul of poorly worded English teaching contracts

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Báo Dân Trí English - 31 month(s) ago 17 readings

Schools fall foul of poorly worded English teaching contracts

>> HCM City primary schools face dire English teacher shortage

>> HCM City primary schools face dire English teacher shortage

Schools will face problems hiring native English language teachers if their labour contracts lack clear and legally binding clauses.

Schools will face problems hiring foreign English language teachers if their labour contracts lack clear and legally binding clauses (Illustration photo)

An unnamed primary school in Ho Chi Minh City is a typical example. In 2009, it hired a native English language teacher under a one-year contract. However, after less than two months, the teacher asked to resign as their labour contract lacked specific details about their teaching hours and other working conditions. As a result, the school had to pay compensation according to the contract.

A representative from the school said this was the first time the school recruited a foreign teacher, so it had lacked experience. The contract had been drawn up by a foreign language centre and the school only cared about the teacher’s work permit and certificates.

Nguyen Ho Thuy Anh, Primary English Learning Training Specialist from Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Education and Training, said schools must be fully aware of the regulations when hiring foreign teachers in order to ensure the contracts they offered were clear, accurate and conformed to labour laws.

Many schools only pay attention to the qualifications of the foreign teachers they employ and do not enter into proper discussions over other clauses in the work contracts.

An education expert blamed local schools for not paying enough attention to the small details in work contracts. He said that labour contracts should only be signed when candidates can meet all requirements set out by employers, noting that clear and strict articles are very important when working with foreign teachers.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has allowed local primary schools to hire native English language teachers. This is regarded as a crucial step in improving English language teaching, particularly as pupils often lack good communication skills.

According to a report released at a national conference on English training at secondary and high schools held on October 19, Vietnamese students ranked 8th in writing and reading ability, but stood 18th in terms of listening and speaking ability among those in 20 countries and territories surveyed.

Le Ngoc Han Primary School in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, has successfully employed native English language teachers. Students in 16 out of 41 classes at the school are taught by foreign teachers.

Trinh Phuong Trinh, Vice Headmaster of the school said, it was important to select a prestigious foreign language centre from which to recruit teachers.

She said her school holds regular meetings for both foreign and local teachers to exchange teaching experiences in English.

Currently, foreign teachers are required to have a work permit and certificates in the subjects they will teach, so that, they can work as teachers in Vietnam. Vietnamese teachers must also attend the lessons in order to deal with possible difficulties due to cultural differences.

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