Is the national foreign-language teaching project forgotten?
VietNamNet Bridge - The national foreign language teaching project for the 2008-2020 period seems to be forgotten in the draft for general education, scheduled to be implemented on a large scale in the 2018-2019 academic year.


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Some education experts, invited to give opinions on the draft general education program, have expressed surprise as the draft does not mention foreign language teaching and learning at schools. 

The draft seems to ‘forget’ to review the national foreign language teaching program and put forward next steps for program implementation.

Under the draft, students would be required to study at least one foreign language (first foreign language) and one more foreign language (second foreign language) as an optional subject, depending on students’ aspirations and education establishments’ capability.

The draft seems to ‘forget’ to review the national foreign language teaching program and put forward next steps for program implementation.

The first foreign language is a compulsory subject for students from the third to 12th grades.

Nguyen Minh Thuyet, chief editor of the national curricula compilation committee, explained that students will begin learning first foreign languages from the third grade as applied. 

Vietnam has many ethnic groups and many students can only speak their ethnic languages. It could be difficult for them to start learning a foreign language from the first grade. 

Meanwhile, some education experts said they cannot see coherence between the national foreign language teaching project to 2020 and the draft general education program. 

According to Pham Thuy Ha, headmaster of Nguyen Van Troi Primary School in HCMC, her school is now providing three English programs – integrated English, English in accordance with the national program, and intensive English.

In HCMC, parents and students prefer the intensive English program.

A school headmaster in district 1 said she doesn’t know what ‘first foreign language’ means – English in accordance with the national program or intensive English. 

Education experts commented that it is a big shortcoming not to attach importance to the teaching of foreign languages in the national master program for general education. 

Nguyen Van Hieu, deputy director of the HCMC Education & Training Department, said it will be impossible to turn foreign language skills into a strength if students only have three English lessons a week.

HCMC is considered the locality which has bigger advantages than other cities and provinces in teaching foreign languages. However, not all districts in the city can implement the foreign language teaching program well. 

Tran Van Toan from the Cu Chi district education sub-department, said at some schools, students still cannot learn foreign languages because schools cannot recruit teachers. At other schools, the teaching is organized only for several classes. 


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Kim Chi

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