Vietnam.net (October 20, 2012)
Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training has given the green light to some schools to pilot “high quality” programs. These schools, as stipulated by the government, can charge higher tuition rates but must have all of their teachers regarded as “excellent” (determined by the possession of a university degree). In addition, 30% of the teachers must have Masters degrees, and English classes must be taught by English-speaking foreign teachers. While school leaders advocate that this distinction of “high quality” is reasonable and will benefit families, members of the community decry the privatization of state-run schools. One school leader recognized, “If only a group of students in a school can get high quality education, this may make other students think about the discrimination against poor students.”
Vietnam.net (October 16, 2012)
Though a formal English curriculum is mandated by the government, schools are charging for additional classes. As part of the Vietnamese government’s 2010 ten-year plan to reform schools, foreign language learning has become an issue taken up by the Communist party. In 2010 a compulsory English program, developed to international standards, was piloted in the country’s elementary schools. Rather than two optional periods of English a week, primary school students are required to take four periods of English a week. The plan is to gradually increase the level of English language learning so that 70% of third graders and 40% of six graders are enrolled in classes by 2015; however, schools now are offering a selection of English programs that require additional fees and are partially or wholly taught by fluent English-speaking teachers. While parents are worried that schools are too autonomous in offering these classes at extra charges, an educational official in Ho Chi Minh asserts standards for high quality schools still in debate.