Experts Not Hopeful on Vietnam’s English Targets

Education experts are expressed concern that the targets set for Vietnam’s foreign language proficiency are set to fail at a recent meeting on English teaching at colleges and universities held by the education ministry, Vietnamnet reports. The goals were set in the 2008-2020 national project, Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages in the National Education System. The project requires all university graduates not majoring in foreign languages to reach a B1 level of English language proficiency. The project implemented a ten-year education program English is enforced as compulsory for grade school starting in 3rd grade. The aim was for by 2020, most Vietnamese students graduating from secondary, vocational schools, colleges and universities have the ability to use the language confidently in their daily communication and study and work environments. The goals, however, have been cited as unrealistic, and leaders worry that goals will not be met.

According to a survey quoted in the meeting by university department head Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, only one in five students could achieve that level (B1) in 2015. The deputy director of Thai Nguyen University suggested that the institution lower the requirements to A2. Representatives of academic institutions said that the English level of students at high school is so low that it is difficult to improve their English proficiency when enter university, and that B1 standard upon graduation not feasible.

After eight years, the national foreign language project has failed to reach its targets, a recent investigation by the State Audit Office of Viet Nam found. The targets have not been reached for a variety of factors, including a low level of English proficiency among teachers, lack of resources, and outdated teaching techniques that focus heavily on grammar. Students rarely have a chance to practice speaking or listening.

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