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City pulls plug on plan to change English curriculum

Update: July, 08/2014 - 08:37
A foreign language class in HCM City's Le Hong Phong Highschool. — VNA/VNS Photo Trang Duong

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City People's Committee has asked the Department of Education and Training to re-evaluate its pilot Cambridge programme and not to replace it with an unapproved integrated English teaching curriculum.

In a communication to the department on Saturday, the committee told the department to review the Cambridge programme, which was approved by the Ministry of Education and Training and piloted at city public schools for over four years, and explain why it suspended it.

The department has to identify the programme's strengths and weaknesses and how it has affected the interests of students and parents and report back this month.

Since 2009-10 the Cambridge programme has been in use at 20 city primary schools. All teachers are native speakers chosen by Cambridge based on British standards.

More than 2,000 students have been following the curriculum, which is believed to provide quality foreign education right in Viet Nam, according to news website Vietnamnet.vn

In mid-June the department had announced it was suspending the programme and replacing it next school year with an integrated English teaching curriculum it launched along with EMG Education company.

At a press conference on June 23 the director of the department, Le Hong Son, said, "We have held discussions with the British education ministry for the creation of an integrated education programme. These talks have been ongoing since December 2011."

The new curriculum was compiled with the co-operation of the UK ministry, he said.

It includes English, maths, and science in English, while the UK examination council would supervise the teaching and serve as one of the units to grant certificates to students, he said.

The department wrote to districts education sub-departments to inform them about the plan.

But the British consulate in the city has denied any such co-operation.

On June 30 the British embassy in Ha Noi released a statement quoting Douglas Barnes, the consul, as saying there was no co-operation agreement for creating an English teaching curriculum for HCM City students.

There was no agreement with the department or with EMG for providing a curriculum or ensuring the quality of the programme, nor had there been any contact between the British education ministry and the HCM City Education and Training Department over the issue, according to the Sai Gon Giai Phong ( Sai Gon Liberated) newspaper. — VNS

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