Mountainous primary schools face shortage of English teachers

November, 19/2022 - 10:37
Hoàng Su Phì, a northern mountainous district of Hà Giang province, is facing a severe shortage of English teachers in primary schools when English is a compulsory subject under the new curriculum.
Students study English at Thàng Tín Primary and Secondary School for Ethnic Minorities in Thành Tín Commune, Hà Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nam Thái

HÀ GIANG — Hoàng Su Phì, a northern mountainous district of Hà Giang Province, is facing a severe shortage of English teachers in primary schools after the subject was made compulsory under the new curriculum.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, the whole district has only five English teachers at 13 primary schools and 25 English teachers at 12 primary and secondary schools.

Nguyễn Thị Bích Hằng, head of the Education Department of Hoàng Su Phì District, said the district was currently organising an English programme for all third grade students under the new general education programme, but many primary schools have had a difficult time recruiting a sufficient number of English teachers.

Recruitment in the district is challenging because the training of teachers in this subject is still limited and many graduates don't want to work in remote areas.

Principal of Thàng Tín Primary and Secondary School for Ethnic Minorities in Thành Tín Commune, Nguyễn Thiện Hà, said the school has only one English teacher.

Due to the shortage of teachers, English teacher Phạm Thị Hương has to teach both primary and secondary students.

She sometimes has to teach seven classes a day – four classes in the morning and three in the afternoon.

Teaching too many classes in one day has affected the preparation of lesson plans as well as the health of teachers, Hà said.

Hương said the greatest difficulty for her is that she has to teach primary students, who are still practising writing and discipline, while she is a secondary English teacher.

"A school lesson lasts 35 minutes, and the content is not too much. But I face many obstacles, such as language barriers," Hương told Tin Tức (News) newspaper.

"In this border commune, most of the children are ethnic minorities, belonging to many different ethnic groups. Many of them are not fluent in reading and writing. It takes a lot of time to review the lessons for students, even though there are four English lessons a week."

In order to solve the shortage of teachers and ensure all third graders can learn English and informatics under the new curriculum, the district education department suggested secondary schools support primary schools if they are close to each other, making it easier for teachers to move from one school to another to teach.

Combination of face-to-face and online learning was also suggested.

The district education sector will also ask the provincial Department of Education and Training to have a better support policy for teachers, Hằng said.

The teachers also need to be trained more in English and informatics so that the teaching can be better and meet the requirements of the new programme.

The local education sector will also ask the provincial Department of Education and Training to recruit additional teachers for these two subjects as well as invest in more equipment for teaching, she said. — VNS

E-paper