Poor English skills remain problem at schools for the gifted
VietNamNet Bridge - The major goals of the national plan to develop schools for the gifted have not been met in the last five years. 

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The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) said many schools have poor facilities and teaching aids, and teaching and learning foreign languages are encountering serious difficulties.  

According to MOET, there are one to two high schools for the gifted in every city or province. By the 2015-2016 academic year, 69,554 students at schools for the gifted had enrolled, accounting for 2.1 percent of all high school students.

Vu Dinh Chuan, director of secondary education department, said 14 schools for the gifted were put into operation in 2010-2015, helping raise the proportion of national standard schools to 63 percent in the 2015-2016 academic year. 

The major goals of the national plan to develop schools for the gifted have not been met in the last five years. 
However, 28 out of 75 schools for the gifted still cannot meet national standards.

The problem is that many schools still lack facilities and teaching aids. They have small campuses, and lack classrooms and dormitories. Though schools prioritize to spend money on teaching aid procurement, they still lack necessary equipment.

One of the six key tasks mentioned in the plan to develop schools for the gifted in the 2010-2020 period is to expand the area of the schools to satisfy national standards.

However, even in cities/provinces where there is only one school for the gifted, such as Thai Binh and Thai Nguyen, the schools still cannot meet national standards.

MOET has decided that from now to 2020, expanding the area of the schools so they  have 15 square meters at least per student will be a priority so they can keep pace with schools in regional countries.

Regarding the curriculum, schools have been encouraged to use foreign materials on a trial basis.

However, education experts emphasized that it will be not easy to implement the tasks. MOET wants general schools to teach maths and science subjects in English. However, the results of the pilot program have  been very modest.

Chuan admitted that though the teaching of English at schools for the gifted has improved considerably compared with five years ago, the English skills of both the managerial staff and teachers are still far from meeting the requirements. 

This hinders the application of foreign advanced education programs in Vietnam. 

Nguyen Truong Giang, headmaster of the Lao Cai provincial School for the Gifted, said despite great efforts, students are still weak at listening and speaking. 

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Minh, rector of the Hanoi University of Education, noted that Vietnamese students are shy about communicating with international friends because of  limited foreign language skills.


Mai Thanh
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