National foreign language project fails to fulfill targets

English fluency targets set by a national project are too high and not backed by sufficient inputs, experts say. A volunteer teaches English to children at the An Vinh Pagoda, Tuyên Quang Province At a recent meeting on English teaching at colleges and universities held by the education ministry, Nguyễn Thị Lan Anh, head of HCM City Transport University’s foreign language department, said a 2015 survey of fourth and fifth year students had found that fewer than 20 per cent could match expected fluency criteria. The 2008-2020 national project, “Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages in the National Education System,” requires university graduates not majoring in foreign languages to reach B1 level, the third of six levels under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. (A1 – beginners; A2 – elementary; B1,B2 – intermediate; C1,C2 – advanced). “It takes 360 to 400 hours of teaching for students to advance from level A2 to B1 level. But the current total in English teaching at the school is about 100 hours,” Anh said. Professor Đặng Văn Minh, deputy director of the Thái Nguyên University said that the university has had to lower its English output criteria to A2 instead of B1. “We set the target too high but do not have solutions to realise it,” he said. Schools nationwide are struggling to achieve targets by the major national project, the meeting heard. Representatives of academic institutions said that the English level of students at high school is so low that it is… [Read full story]


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