MOET has said that it will teach Russian and Chinese as the first foreign language from the third grade. It also plans to teach Korean, French and German as second foreign languages at general schools.
Bui Khanh The, former Rector of the HCM City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology, commented that students have too many subjects as school, and won’t have time to learn many foreign languages.
“Too many foreign languages will be unbearable for students,” he warned.
He went on to say that the demand for foreign languages is changing in different historical periods. MOET should focus on teaching English.
He agrees that Vietnam not only needs workers with English skills, but also specialists in othet languages. However, this does not mean that other languages need to be taught in a large scale and at general school.
Professor Tran Dinh Su, a renowned education expert, commented that teaching English is now the most important task because English is used worldwide.
The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has been told that it will put a heavy burden on students by including multiple foreign languages in the curriculum at general schools.
Su proposed to put the issue into National Assembly discussion.
Nguyen Quoc Hung, former vice rector of the Hanoi Foreign Languages University, said that English needs to be considered the most important foreign language.
Therefore, English should be the compulsory foreign language for general school students. Other foreign languages should be optional for students.
While experts expressed their viewpoints in a cautious manner, parents showed their strong opposition to MOET’s plan to teach many foreign languages at general schools.
Nguyen Thu Ha, a parent in Hanoi, said she was shocked with the ‘overly ambitious plan’ of MOET.
“I cannot imagine how the teaching of other foreign languages would be implemented if the teaching of English, the priority foreign language, is still unsatisfactory,” she complained.
Ha doesn’t want her daughter to learn Russian or Chinese. “She has to struggle with English lessons every day and I don’t think learning one more language is a good idea,” she said.
Meanwhile, other experts doubt that MOET’s plan can be implemented in Vietnamese conditions.
Nguyen Thi Hang, a lecturer of the HCM City University of Education, said the demand for learning Russian was still high, but the teaching staff cannot satisfy the demand.