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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        12  April 2011

Vietnam needs thousands of English teachers

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Vietnam needs 24,000 teachers of English for primary schools by 2018 under a proposal to start teaching the language to pupils from third grade onwards, Nguyen Ngoc Hung, an education official, said at Tuesday’s conference on teaching English at primary education level in Ho Chi Minh City.

The country expects all of its third graders to have been taught English by 2020, as the Ministry of Education and Training proposes.

Pedagogical junior colleges are currently not offering courses training students to become English teachers at primary education level.

Hung admitted this is a tricky situation but the country could think of impromptu solutions like recruiting graduates majoring in English or encouraging university pedagogic sophomores who love to become high school teachers to switch to the new major.

A shortage of teachers of English for this level is the biggest obstacle to the proposal’s target, conceded Le Tien Thanh, director of the Ministry’s Department of Primary Education. Remuneration packages should also be considered to retain primary schools’ current teachers, he noted.

The proposal is now piloted at 72 primary schools where English is a compulsory subject to 20 percent of the third graders in the 2010-2011 academic year.

Normally, Vietnam starts teaching English to school students from sixth grade.

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