Vietnam plans to educate in English language

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam urged the education sector to push forward with reform to improve the quality of education and training in the coming time.

Chairing an online meeting with education departments of cities and provinces nationwide on August 12, the Deputy PM hailed the sector for achievements in designing a new education system for the period ahead, particularly the draft general education programme under international standard.

He noted that the inadequate infrastructure facilities for education are a major difficulty that cannot be solved overnight, and asked the MoET to work closely with the Ministries of Finance and Planning and Investment to seek solutions to the issue.

At the same time, the Deputy PM told the sector to look squarely at problems hindering educational reform such as the awareness and working style of teachers and educational managers as well as of students and their families in order to find suitable measures.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien briefed participants on positive results reached in the 2014-2015 academic year, citing the universalisation of pre-school education for 5 – year – old – children in 32 localities nationwide as an example.

He stressed the successful organization of the national high school graduation exam 2015 in the new format, adding that it contributed to laying basic foundation for realising the country’s goal of fundamental and comprehensive reform of education and training.

In the next academic year, the sector will focus on implementing Project 2020 on teaching foreign languages, the universalisation of pre-school education for 5 – year – old – children and developing preschool education in industrial parks and export processing zones. The sector will also analyse and draw lessons from the new-format national high school graduation exam with a view to improving organisation work in the next years.

A shortage of qualified teachers at high schools nationwide is the major obstacle preventing the implementation of a pilot bilingual programme on teaching maths and natural science in English and Vietnamese, delegates said at a workshop held by the Viet Nam Education Publishing House last week in HCM City.

Speaking at the workshop, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien said the ministry in the 2014-15 academic year had encouraged high schools for gifted students and other high schools with enough resources to pilot the bilingual programmes.

Provinces and cities implementing the programme in primary schools should continue to do so in secondary schools, he said.

At the workshop, the national publishing house also presented the country’s first bilingual maths textbooks in English and Vietnamese.

The bilingual programme is part of the national project on teaching foreign languages by 2020.

Deputy Minister Hien said the country had a shortage of qualified maths and science teachers able to teach in English, even though many students could take part in such classes.

Only large cities such as Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang and several provinces including Vinh Phuc have been able to carry out the programme.

In HCM City, besides schools for gifted students such as Le Hong Phong and Tran Dai Nghia, another eight high schools, including Le Quy Don, Bui Thi Xuan and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, are teaching maths and science subjects in English.

Students at 56 primary and secondary schools in HCM City are benefiting from the programme in the 2015-16 period. The teachers at these schools in HCM City are foreign nationals.

Tran Duc Huy, vice principal of Le Hong Phong School, said the school had implemented the programme for eight years before the ministry’s requirement.

He and his colleagues compiled English textbooks for the academic subjects.

However, only a few teachers are qualified in the academic subject and English, he added.

Nguyen Van Nghe of the Dong Thap Province’s Department of Education and Training said his province could not expand the programme because of the shortage of teachers qualified in both fields.

Hoang Minh Quan, head of Vinh Phuc Province’s Department of Education and Training, said that his department was providing training courses for teachers of these subjects. The training is expected to be completed in the 2015-16 year.

Le Tien Dung, head of Tra Vinh Province’s Department of Education and Training’s high school education division, said the programme would begin in the second semester at four schools, including a school for the gifted in the province.

“With bilingual maths textbooks from the Viet Nam Education Publishing House, it will be easy to implement the programme,” Dung said.

The publishing house plans to publish more bilingual textbooks for science subjects for the programme.

In the bilingual programme, in the first semester, maths and science teachers will teach in Vietnamese during classes and will do homework in English.

In the next semester, both Vietnamese and English will be used to teach classes, and after that, only English will be used as the skills of the teachers and students improve.

Huy of the Le Hong Phong School said that bilingual textbooks should be used only for the beginning period of the programme.

Mac Van Thien, chairman of the board at the Viet Nam Education Publishing House, said that in the 2016-17 academic year the house would publish more bilingual textbooks in physics and chemistry. It also plans to publish English textbooks soon

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