Saigonese miffed at cancellation of English programs

VietNamNet Bridge – The HCM City Education and Training Department has unexpectedly decided to discontinue its use of Cambridge University’s English teaching curriculums, after four years of its application at 20 primary schools.

english teaching, hcm city, students

Do Minh Hoang, chief inspector of the department, announced that the department has joined forces with the British Education Ministry to build up a specific English curriculum for HCM City’s students which will replace the currently used Cambridge curriculum on teaching math and science in English.

Since the 2009-2010 academic year, the Cambridge curriculum has been applied at 20 primary schools in HCM City. All the teachers are native speakers selected by Cambridge in accordance with the British standards. More than 2,000 students have been following the curriculum, which is believed to provide quality foreign education right in Vietnam.

However, Hoang said the education department has found some big problems when applying the curriculum.

First, as all rights are reserved by Cambridge, Vietnamese have to strictly follow all the items designed, and cannot adjust anything in the content.

Second, the curriculum sets very strict requirements on material facilities and teaching staff. Consequently, many suburban schools cannot satisfy the requirements to open classes.

Third, the students following Cambridge’s curriculum still have to learn math in accordance with the common Ministry of Education’s curriculum, posing a genuine burden for them.

Therefore, Hoang said, the education department’s experts believe that it would be better to apply a new integrated curriculum based on the Cambridge curriculum, but with some adjustments to make it more suitable to conditions in Vietnam. The students following the integrated curriculum will not have to learn math anywhere else.

Regarding the teaching staff, Hoang said the current Cambridge teachers will continue to work in the immediate future, before they are eventually replaced by Vietnamese standard teachers.

The unexpected decision by the HCM City education department has perplexed parents.

A parent whose daughter follows the Cambridge curriculum at Nguyen Binh Khiem Primary School said he cannot understand why such a good teaching program is being canceled.

“My daughter’s English skills have improved significantly. Communicating with native speakers has proven to be the best way to learn English,” he commented.

A parent whose son goes to the Le Ngoc Han Primary School complained that changeable policies always make parents confused.

“Three years ago, I was told that I should let my son follow the Cambridge curriculum. But now I am told that the curriculum is too heavy and unsuitable to Vietnamese students,” he said.

“I registered for the curriculum for my son because I was told that the same curriculum would be applied to students until they finish high school,” he continued. “What do I do now if my son has to quit the study halfway?”

“The education department should think carefully before making any decisions. It must not change its thoughts so regularly. Our children must not be the lab rats for its experiments,” he said.

A reader, in an email to the editorial board, affirmed that her son will continue following the Cambridge curriculum, even if the education department changes curriculums several times more, simply because Cambridge’s standards are those that are required for students to study at schools in the US and UK.


english teaching, hcm city, students