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EL Asia Pacific: Vietnam to raise its game

Lucas Jans Vietnam

Andrea Perez writes

Vietnam plans to make English the second language of its universities. The minister of education, Phung Xuan Nha, announced in August a roadmap to achieve the goal this academic year, urging universities to ‘improve their English teaching methods’, Vietnam News reports. 

Under the foreign language teaching plan, around 61 universities and academies must reach Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) teaching standards and should start using English at meetings. University students will do all presentations and class discussions in English too. According to Vietnam News, the ministry will help universities in ‘training capable English teachers through new programmes that focus on training in remote areas’.

Currently, the English language is only mandatory in secondary schools from grade ten (15 and 16 years old) onwards, and is an optional subject in primary schools, with one or two lessons a week. But under the new plan, from 2018 students from grade three (8 and 9 years old) and above will have four English lessons a week, the website reported.

Despite the ambitious plan, the present state of English proficiency in the country is regarded as poor. The ministry has admitted that Vietnam has a shortage of 7,700 teachers, and only a third of English teachers at primary and high schools meet teaching standards. See page vii for more on teaching English in Vietnam.

Pic courtesy: Lucas Jans