HCMC in dire need of English teachers
Updated : 07/09/2012 16:51 GMT + 7
The status of an economic and educational hub does not prevent Ho Chi Minh City from falling into the same trap as other localities: the majority of its English teachers failed last month’s test in the subject they are teaching. In fact, this city now seriously lacks qualified English teachers.
Almost 85 percent of the English teachers did not succeed in the test, which the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) had prepared against guidelines from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, even though HCMC boasts one of the best academic standards in the country.
A lack of qualified English teachers has obsessed school leaders here for a long time, even before the release of this saddened result.
English teachers tend to quit their schools for other workplaces that offer them higher salaries after they gain enough working experiences, a District 5 high school principal complained at a recent conference in HCMC.
Van Cong Sang, with the HCMC Department of Education and Training, admitted that a brain drain would be inevitable if the income issue is poorly addressed.
“It is critical that competitive remuneration packages be offered to retain English teachers,” Sang said.
The city has planned to employ 762 new local teachers of English and 100 native English teachers with formal pedagogical education in the next academic year, starting this September, as a way to deal with the current situation.
But many have voiced their doubt about this proposal given Vietnam’s current curricula, which simply put a strong emphasis on grammar and reading skills.
“Are we sure that we are able to recruit the right people with the right modern qualifications while an outdated mode of teaching and testing is still in use?” a Tan Binh District educator questioned at a meeting on English teaching in the city.
The city aims to teach English to over 1 million school students by 2021, and now requires high school teachers to reach the European model’s second-highest skill level, while setting the third-highest for elementary and middle school teachers.
Vietnam sets a target of 24,000 qualified English teachers by 2020, so it is a shock that a mere 3 to 7 percent of K-12 English teachers in 30 provinces and cities passed the MoET test last month.