In February, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) released several circulars on teacher appointments and rankings, and necessary certificates.
Three months later, however, the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed getting rid of half of these required certificates.
One month after releasing a series of circulars, MOET released Document No 971/BGDĐT-NGCBQLGD, requesting local departments to report their plans to appoint and assign pay grades to teaching officers prior to June 30, 2021 and report the results of the professional title ranking and pay grade assignments prior to December 31, 2021.
The circulars then ignited a ‘certificate rush’. Teachers rushed to attend refresher courses to obtain certificates, mostly in foreign language and informatics. Even those who don’t have to show certificates immediately as stipulated in the circulars registered for training courses for certificates.
“I don’t know if I have to submit the certificates. But I still registered to attend training courses for peace of mind. No one knows if the certificates will be required one day,” a teacher in Quang Tri said.
Hundreds of nursery school teachers even took risks going to the Dien Bien Pedagogical College to attend a refresher course last May, when Dien Bien was one of the Covid-19 hotspots.
How much do certificates cost?
The circulars help training establishments earn big money. Soon after they were released, many universities and junior colleges launched training courses for certificates. Ads about training courses appeared in chat groups, teachers’ Facebook pages, and education forums.
|In February, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) released several circulars on teacher appointments and rankings, and necessary certificates. Three months later, however, the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed getting rid of half of these required certificates.|
A package for a training course plus certificate was advertised to cost VND2-3.5 million. However, some people said the real cost was up to VND5 million.
Many classes were organized online amid Covid-19 escalation.
Tran Ban in HCM City said a training course cost VND3.5 million. “The class ran online. You just have to pay the money and wait for the certificate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thu Huong, also in HCM City, said she had to pay VND3 million. This was the tuition for most of the classes in Binh Thanh District.
The tuition was lower in other provinces, VND2.5 million in An Giang, and VND2 million in Quang Nam.
“You need to register for training courses, and certificates will be ‘shipped’ to your home,” a teacher in HCM City wrote on her Facebook page.
“Teachers attend training courses to obtain certificates, but they don’t expect to receive knowledge from the courses. So, what are the certificates for?” Vu Viet Ha, a reader, wrote in an email to VietNamNet.
Nguyen Trong Xuan, also a reader, commented that it is nonsensical to attend such refresher courses. “Trainees only have five lessons for a course and they learn again what they were taught at pedagogical schools,” he wrote.
With millions of teachers required to have certificates, the total amount of money they have to pay is up to trillions of dong, which is enough to build many schools and buy teaching aids for difficult areas.
Most teachers have to use their own money for training courses.
In addition to 49 training establishments licensed by MOET, many centers and companies also organized training courses for certificates.
Even intermediate schools (2-year training) in nursing, business administration and communications advertised that they had joined forces with pedagogical universities to provide training courses for certificates.
“Providing training courses to teachers is a profitable business,” the headmaster of a pedagogical school said, adding that the ‘prices’ of certificates vary and it is easy to study for certificates.
Asked if the local education and training department knows about the number of teachers going to training courses for certificates, the leader of the department said: “How can I know this? They attend the courses on a voluntary basis."
Amid the certificate rush, some education and training departments released documents reassuring teachers that not all of them have to submit the certificates immediately.
However, the explanations failed to catch the attention of teachers.
A teacher in Ha Tinh complained that as there were no detailed guidelines, teachers fell into chaos.
“Everyone fears they may not meet the requirements to get professional title and promotions, which will affect their rice pot,” he said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ proposal to get rid of half of the certificates required for teachers has stopped the ‘certificate rush’. However, it has not made teachers happy, because the proposal was made only days ago, after they had spent money and time to attend training courses.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has directed relevant agencies to amend the regulations on certification of professional titles of teachers.
The National Assembly on April 8 approved the appointment of several government members, including Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra, the only woman among the 15 newly elected cabinet members.