Viet Nam News
TOKYO — Some 400 Japanese nationals took their first Vietnamese language proficiency exam on Sunday at the Japanese College of Foreign Languages in Tokyo, Japan, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The exam was comprised of seven levels, from basic to advanced Vietnamese, and was taken by Japanese belonging to different age groups.
The examination fees range between JPY3,000 (US$27) and $81 depending on the exam levels
This first exam will only issue Vietnamese proficiency certificates from the most basic level to level 2, with the most advanced level 1 not having been included yet.
Yanagisawa Yoshino, chairman of the Testing Committee, said the preparation process for the exam took two years with a lot of procedures, from preparing exam questions, asking for judicial permission to conduct the exam, to preparing human resources and the exam’s venue.
Working participants made up for the majority of those who took the exam. The average age of those who took the exam was 40, the oldest being an 86-year-old and the youngest an 18-year-old.
One candidate said the listening section was the most difficult part of the exam, since there are different tones in the Vietnamese language that can easily confuse listeners.
Ise Yoji, chairman of the Bunsai Gakuen Non-Profit Education Foundation at the college said there were three reasons why the exam was held.
Firstly, this is considered the age of Southeast Asian countries, in which Việt Nam plays an important role. "Việt Nam is undergoing strong development, and will become a developed country in the future, which is why the Japanese should learn Vietnamese," he said.
Secondly, teaching Vietnamese to Japanese will help them understand the Vietnamese culture better and broaden Japanese students’ knowledge of Việt Nam.
Thirdly, the Japanese’ demand to study Vietnamese is growing as the number of Japanese choosing Việt Nam as a studying destination is also increasing.
Yoji predicted that the number of Japanese studying Vietnamese would surge in the next three to four years, and believed that some thousands of Japanese would be taking the next Vietnamese language proficiency exams.
Phạm Quang Hưng, First Secretary for Education at the Embassy of Việt Nam in Japan, said the number of enterprises investing in Việt Nam was also increasing as Việt Nam– Japan relations were developing strongly in all aspects, driving demand among the Japanese to study Vietnamese.
"The age group of Japanese learning Vietnamese reflects the strong cooperation between the two countries in politics, economics, and culture," he added.
Teaching Vietnamese would not be limited to formal universities, but would be expanded to different formats to meet the Japanese’ demand of getting to know and understanding Vietnamese culture, he added. Phạm said he believed there is huge potential in the next Vietnamese language proficiency exams.
The second exam is expected to take place in June 24, 2018. — VNS