Lacking money, teachers, English program goes at snail’s pace

VietNamNet Bridge – In the 2012-2013 academic year, only 20 percent of first graders in HCM City could learn English in accordance with the 2020 national foreign language teaching program.

Vietnam, English teaching, national program, primary school, Filipino teachers

To date, the national program still cannot be implemented in the districts of Binh Tan, Phu Nhuan and district 6.

Le Ngoc Diep, Head of the Primary Education Division of the HCM City Education and Training Department, said the city hopes to raise the proportion to 50 percent in the 2013-3014 academic year, but admitted that the program is facing too many difficulties.

If the difficulties cannot be settled, the city’s targeted plan of having 100 percent of primary school students accessing to the English teaching programs -- either the intensive learning program and national program, would fail.

Lacking teachers is the problems that all the primary schools in the city are facing. In district 5, the English teachers under the program of teaching English as optional subject have been asked to shift to the English intensive teaching program or national foreign teaching program.

However, according to Vo Ngoc Thu, Head of the district’s education sub-department, despite the flexible policy, all the schools are still lacking teachers. Twelve out of the 16 primary schools in the districts could implement the ministry’s national English teaching program in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Thu said primary schools plan to discuss with the parents on asking for more English teachers from the Philippines.

In Binh Tan district, one of the three districts which still cannot run the national program, Tran Huu Vinh, head of the district’s education sub-department said the main problem lies in the high number of immigrant people.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, the district had 7,000 students entering the first grade, while the number is expected to increase to 10,000 this year. Meanwhile, the number of schools and classes nearly remains unchanged. As a result, many students in the strict could not go to school both in the morning and afternoon as planned. All the classes here have been overloaded with more than 35 students in every class.

Vinh said the district has decided that the English teaching in accordance with the national program would begin this year. However, to date, the district still lacks 10 teachers.

Diep said lacking teachers would be a long term problem. Since the wages for English teachers are very low, schools find it difficult to recruit and retain teachers.

Primary schools are allowed to collect VND50,000 from every student who attends the intensive English teaching program. The learning fee, which has been existing unchanged over the last 14 years, though the consumer price index has been increasing dramatically during that time.

Diep said the city’s education department has been seeking the permission to raise the fees, but the proposal has not got the nod. “We have been told that it would be unreasonable if only the English learning fee is adjusted,” Diep said.

According to Dr. Nguyen Kim Hong from the HCM City University of Education, if every English teacher takes care for 4 classes, he would have 16 periods a week, then the primary schools throughout the country would need 39,759 teachers, while the eastern provinces in the south region alone would need 4,582 teachers.

As such, from now to 2020, Vietnam would need 6,626 teachers every year. Meanwhile, the English Faculty of the HCM City University of Education only employs 150 students to produce 150 English teachers for high schools.


Vietnam, English teaching, national program, primary school, Filipino teachers