Viet Nam’s recent researches show a reality that although the English teaching and learning (ETL) has enjoyed favorable conditions for the past few years, there has been no significant improvement in the quality of instruction or learners.
A poor command of English still poses an insurmountable barrier to students who would like to study overseas, to apply for admission to higher institutions, and to apply for a job. Moreover, Vietnamese enterprises still needs interpreters in dealing with foreign clients or at international meetings.
The Internet has greatly improved access to international networks, but a low level of English by Internet users correspondingly limits its use.
SGGP reporter has an interview on this issue with Associate Professor Do Huy Thinh, the director of SEAMEO's Regional Training Center (RETRAC) in Viet Nam and also the head of the Mobilizing Board for the TESOL association.
SGGP reporter: What is the main cause of this alarming situation in Viet Nam?
Associate Professor Do Huy Thinh: Currently, Ho Chi Minh City has over 10,000 teachers of English but only 61 per cent of them have B.A degrees in English and 14 percent of them have post-graduate or M.A degrees.
The problem with teaching English in the city is that 25 percent of the teachers of English graduated from colleges or universities majoring in different disciplines. Most of these teachers have few opportunities to approach the new teaching methods and techniques.
SGGP reporter: What is TESOL-HCMC’s plan to reduce the gap between teaching, learning English in Viet Nam and other countries?
Associate Professor Do Huy Thinh: TESOL-HCMC will help its members update with the advanced factors of teaching English including the programs, curricula, methodology and evaluation that are globally used to improve the quality of teaching and learning English in Viet Nam.
The members have more chance to discuss and exchange their knowledge or experiences in teaching to develop more pieces of research. They can also study many other research documents, English newspapers, magazines, and books that are widely used in the region and the world.
SGGP reporter: Since Ho Chi Minh City is leading in establishing a professional association for English teaching, could you please tell us about the TESOL’s operation in Viet Nam and other countries?
Associate Professor Do Huy Thinh: TESOL-HCMC is our first step to popularize the TESOL association at the national scale.
Currently, the International TESOL, whose headquarter located in the US, hold many conferences on teaching English with the participations of over 6,000 teachers and experts from many countries. Besides, some TESOL centers have been established in Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Darussalam and Philippines. In Singapore, SEAMEO’s language center has also become the leading instructor of Asian countries in teaching and learning English.