Experts want language degree requirement for foreign English teachers scrapped

By Phan Anh   March 20, 2023 | 06:59 pm PT
Experts want language degree requirement for foreign English teachers scrapped
Students of an English center in HCMC attend an outdoor activity at a park in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Undergraduate degree should not matter for English teachers with recognized teaching certificates, experts said at the Annual Vietnam Business Forum.

In a paper presented at the technical session on cooperation between the business community and the government to foster green growth, experts in the education and training working group called for amending a circular that requires English teachers to have a degree in the language.

While acknowledging Vietnam's focus on quality, they said this policy would disqualify people with English teaching certificates and years of experience if they do not possess such a degree.

In a petition, Brian O'Reilly, head of the education & training working group at VBF, and Nguyen Kim Dung, a lawyer and co-head of the group, said: "No additional certificates for language proficiency [should be] required if the teacher is from a non-English speaking country because the English teaching certificate already ensures sufficient English proficiency to teach."

Their petition was one of many presented at the session on Sunday.

English teaching certificates include the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) Certificate accredited by the Awarding Language Acquisition for Professionals (ALAP) organization, and the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) provided by the Cambridge Assessment English.

Also in their paper, the VBF experts said: "Regulations on professional qualifications in Vietnam are not compatible with other countries' requirements leading to an inability to obtain and renew work permits."

This could lead to an exodus of teachers seeking a work environment that offers better security and stability, they warned.

Foreigners applying for work permits to teach foreign languages must satisfy certain requirements like possessing an undergraduate degree in languages or a language proficiency certificate if their major is not languages in addition to a language teaching certificate.

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