|English-language teachers need continued professional training to achieve national foreign-language targets by 2020, experts say at a training conference on Regional Experience and Solutions in English Teaching and Learning for an Integrated ASEAN Community. — Photo SEAMEO
LAM DONG — English-language teachers need continued professional training to achieve national foreign-language targets by 2020, education officials have urged.
English teachers at universities and colleges in Viet Nam generally have the same qualifications as those in Cambodia and Thailand, with bachelor's or master's degrees, according to a survey by Viet Nam-based Regional Training Centre of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO RETRAC).
The study conducted from late 2014 until May 2015 surveyed 290 English teachers, principals, and vice principals of primary and secondary schools, and lecturers, rectors, vice rectors of universities' English Department in four countries and one territory
But they are less qualified than teachers in Japan and Taiwan, many of whom have master's or Ph.D degrees, said Do Thi Hoai Thu, dean of the education division at SEAMEO RETRAC.
Thu spoke at a two-day training conference on Regional Experience and Solutions in English Teaching and Learning for an Integrated ASEAN Community, which ended on Saturday in Lam Dong Province's Da Lat City.
The survey showed that most English teachers at primary and secondary schools in Viet Nam had either a teaching certificate from foreign language teaching centres, or a bachelor's degree or master's degree.
Teachers at the same level in Cambodia and Japan had either a teaching certificate or a degrees from a college or university, according to the SEAMEO survey.
Most Taiwanese and Thai primary and secondary school English-language teachers held a bachelor's or master's degree from colleges and universities, the survey found.
Thu said that Vietnamese schools and institutions should enforce the ministry's policies for recruiting qualified teaching staff.
The SEAMEO survey showed that the average age of starting to learn English in Viet Nam was nine years old, earlier than Japan but later than Cambodia, Thailand and Taiwan.
Policies to improve the quality and effectiveness of English language teaching and learning from the primary level should be enforced, Thu said.
Nguyen Lan Trung, representative of Management Board of 2020 National Foreign Language Project, said the Ministry of Education and Training had made careful preparations for foreign language training.
A directive issued in 2014 by the ministry was designed to strengthen the teaching and learning of foreign languages.
The aim was to help students learn and work in a more competitive and multicultural environment when the ASEAN Community begins, which will take effect by the year-end.
The Foreign-Language Project's management board, in collaboration with other institutions inside and outside the ministry and local governments, has outlined solutions to implement the project's objectives.
Under the ASEAN Community, Viet Nam's labour market will be open to all highly qualified human resources from other countries in Southeast Asia.
"One of the biggest challenges facing our labour force is the ability to communicate in foreign languages," Trung said.
The conference, organised by the board in co-operation with SEAMEO RETRAC, attracted 80 heads and deputy heads of English faculties at universities and colleges as well as English specialists of educational departments in the country. —VNS