VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese parents now hurriedly prepare their children for first grade by forcing them to practice reading and writing in advance.



Children tutored for primary school competition

Most of the Vietnamese parents believe that their children need to practice reading and writing before they go to primary school. If they don’t, they would not catch up with the other classmates.

Many of them have told their children to leave kindergartens to focus on practicing writing and reading to prepare for the first grades. Only a few of parents decide not to teach their children in advance. And they are called the “brave parents.”

Thi, an office worker in Ha Dong district, whose son would go to primary school in September, said she was in two minds about whether to practice the boy in advance. She understands that it’d be better not to force the child to learn hard before his age. However, she fears that the boy would lag behind in the class, which would make him get afraid of going to school.

Finally, she decided to bring the boy to a pre-first grade preparation class, where he can practice reading and writing. “I feel insecure about my child. I decided to follow the crowd,” she said.

Thi really does not want to send the boy to the class. Everything there does not satisfy her. The tuition is overly high, VND75,000 for a lesson. The classroom is cramped and hot.

“It’s scorching hot there, like a preparation class for the university entrance exams,” Thi said.

However, the mother said, his son is still “luckier” than his other 5 friends in the same residential quarter, who have to learn much harder. The boy next-door has to go to a private tutoring class to practice reading and writing every morning, and then learn with his grandmother every evening.

Meanwhile, her mother calls her every day and urges her to bring the boy to private tutoring class, or the boy would be inferior to his friends.

Psychologists’ advices ignored

Educators and psychologists have many times warned parents against teaching children before going to primary school. They said that the students who know how to read and write before going to school would suffer from the “subjectivism” and would neglect the teachers’ lessons.

A teacher of a primary school in Binh Thanh district in HCM City said most of the students, who practice writing soon, write letters in a wrong way. She also said that it’s very difficult to correct the mistakes, because children tend to remember well the things they learn first.

Especially, she said, many students lag behind others in class after a period of learning, because they think they know everything already and they don’t need to concentrate during the lessons.

The Ministry of Education and Training and local education departments have launched a propaganda campaign to persuade parents not to teach their children before the school age. Director of the Primary Education Department--Pham Ngoc Dinh, said parents would feel guilty about their children if they force the children to begin learning before the age.

Dinh went on to say that MOET would release a new legal document to prohibit teachers to give marks to first graders. Teachers can only give comments to help students correct their mistakes and improve themselves, instead of giving marks, which may make students get afraid of learning.

Nguyen Thao