Vietnam requires native English teachers to go through 120-hour training program

By Duong Tam   January 24, 2024 | 07:01 pm PT
Vietnam requires native English teachers to go through 120-hour training program
Students learn with a foreign teacher at Res English Language School in HCMC. Photo courtesy of Res
The education ministry has requested foreigners teaching English at language centers in Vietnam to complete a training program, focusing on pedagogical skills.

Vu Minh Duc, head of the Teacher and Education Management Officials Department under the Ministry of Education and Training, said Tuesday that the program, which was introduced last month, aims to improve the quality of language teaching and learning in Vietnam.

Teachers at foreign language centers who must participate in this program include native English speakers, foreigners with an associate degree in English, or an associate degree along with a foreign language proficiency certificate of level 5 or higher according to the six-level foreign language competency framework used in Vietnam or equivalent.

Level 5 is compatible with the C1 level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The program consists of 11 topics that will cover a total of 160 periods lasting 45 minutes each.

Its core content includes basic knowledge about the Vietnamese context and culture, the Vietnamese education system, as well as regulations on teaching and learning in Vietnam.

Participants will also learn English language teaching methods, teaching methods for Vietnamese children and teenagers, assessment methods, and the application of information technology and development of teaching materials in English language teaching.

Following the program's introduction, some English language centers that employ foreign teachers have been left confused about whether their teachers are required to participate in the program and obtain the certification.

Questions also arise about teachers who already hold international English teaching certificates like TESOL. These details are not mentioned in the ministry's document.

According to Duc, the ministry's program targets individuals with English language proficiency but lacking suitable pedagogical skills.

"Therefore, foreigners who meet the language proficiency requirements and have recognized English teaching certificates are not obliged to participate," he said.

Some English teaching certificates that are recognized in Vietnam include TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, according to the International Cooperation Department of the ministry.

Regarding teaching and certification, the ministry allows universities with the pedagogy department to take initiative in compiling materials and conducting the teaching program, either online or in-person.

The facilities, lecturers, materials, and teaching programs must meet certain conditions and report to the ministry for monitoring, inspection, and evaluation.

Currently, some universities have already announced enrollment for this training program.

The University of Foreign Languages, Hue University, is recruiting for the course, with tuition staying between VND17.9 million and VND19.9 million (US$724-809) per participant.

A 2019 statistic showed about 4,000 foreign language centers were operating across the country, with most of them in major cities, including 750 in Hanoi alone.

Many centers advertise themselves as using only foreign teachers.

Regulations allow foreigners to obtain work permits to teach English in Vietnam if they have suitable teaching qualifications or a language/specialty degree along with a suitable English teaching certificate like TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, DELTA...

However, many foreigners without these certificates are still hired by some centers for hourly teaching due to the demand for "learning with native speakers," raising concerns about teaching quality.

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