Korean and German are set to be taught to pupils in grades three to 12, alongside other foreign languages such as English, Russian, French, and Chinese.
The main contents of the Korean and German language lessons will include topics and basic language skills such as phonetics, vocabulary, and grammar, that are selected in accordance with the cognitive ability of the students and integrated into the development of basic listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
The announcement has immediately provoked a strong reaction from parents, who voiced their doubts about the feasibility of the programme. A number of parents believed their children will become overloaded if both foreign languages are on the syllabus, whilst others raised the question of why the Ministry has chosen Korean and German as opposed to other foreign languages.
A representative from the Ministry of Education and Training played down the concerns of parents, saying that the inclusion of the languages as part of universal education for students from grades 3 to 12 is simply a pilot programme at this point.
Students will be able to choose one foreign language from the list to study at school, and they will not be required to study two or three foreign languages simultaneously, the representative explained in an interview granted to vtcnews.vn on March 4.
The Ministry expects that students will develop their ability to communicate and use foreign languages in an effective manner when they study, thereby helping to meet the demand for human resources during the country’s ongoing international integration process, said the representative.
Associate Professor Tran Xuan Nhi, former deputy minister of education and training, said that integrating Korean, Germany, and other foreign languages into the universal education syllabus is a normal occurrence, and parents are “misunderstanding” the Ministry’s policy.
“This policy will benefit our students and conform to future trends,” Prof. Nhi told vtcnews.vn. “Students want to become global citizens, they must acquire foreign languages. They can choose other foreign languages, but not English, to suit their hobby and future profession.”
Sharing Prof. Nhi’s view, To Thuy Diem Quyen, a global education expert, welcomes the Ministry’s plan as a positive step that will benefit students. Quyen said many countries have applied a multi-foreign language teaching scheme at school, and Vietnam is slightly late to follow this trend.
According to the education expert, students should be equipped with multi-foreign languages, which is considered to be an advantage given the current global context.