Vietnam gears up to train teachers of English for primary schools
VietNamNet Bridge - English will be a compulsory subject for third grades and above from 2018. This means that primary schools only have two more years to prepare teachers of English.

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Currently, English is an optional subject for primary school students. Therefore, 711,000 primary school students, or 1/10 of total students, still do not learn English at school.

Under the national program on teaching foreign languages at general schools by 2020, to ensure that 100 percent of primary school students can learn English, Vietnam will need 7,766 more teachers.

However, it is difficult to find enough teachers for primary schools, especially schools in remote areas. They cannot recruit new teachers, while having to use existing teachers and ask teachers to take on more classes.

English will be a compulsory subject for third grades and above from 2018. This means that primary schools only have two more years to prepare teachers of English
According to Nguyen Thuy Hong, deputy head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Teachers’ Department, before the national program on teaching foreign languages at general school was set up, English was taught at primary school as an optional subject. 

Local authorities decided themselves whether to teach English to primary school students, depending on their conditions. 

The payrolls of primary schools do not include teachers of English. This means that teachers of English do not get pay from the state budget, but work under short-term labor contracts signed with primary schools.

Meanwhile, the majority of working teachers of English cannot satisfy the requirements to be eligible for teaching English at primary schools. 

A report of the national foreign language teaching program showed that only 35 percent can meet requirements of 4th out of six grades, while the remaining 65 percent cannot. 

In principle, the teachers must attend refreshing courses to upgrade their English. However, due to many reasons, the retraining cannot bring the designed effects.

Also according to Hong, currently, primary school students only have two English lessons a week. 

But from 2018, they will have four lessons a week.

In order to obtain enough teachers for 20,000 classes, Vietnam will need over 7,000 more teachers.

Vietnam now has many training establishments which produce teachers of English with bachelor’s degrees, not teachers of English for primary school.

The teachers who teach English at primary schools were either trained as teachers for secondary and high schools, or were trained to become linguists in English.

Vietnam will not only have to recruit 7,000 more teachers of English, but also standardize 60 percent of existing teachers who cannot meet standards.

Hong still believes that the targets are attainable.

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