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What is the fate of the $423 million foreign-language teaching program?

The VND9.3 trillion national program on teaching foreign languages at general schools by 2020 has spent VND5.4 trillion so far. However, MOET admitted that the goals of the program may be unattainable by 2020.

VietNamNet Bridge - The VND9.3 trillion national program on teaching foreign languages at general schools by 2020 has spent VND5.4 trillion so far. However, MOET admitted that the goals of the program may be unattainable by 2020.


In September 2008, the Prime Minister approved the national foreign language teaching program which aimed to ‘comprehensively renovate the teaching and learning of foreign languages in the national education system’.

Under the program, by 2020, the majority of young people finishing intermediate schools (2-year training) and junior colleges, would be able to use foreign languages well, and be confident in communication, learning and working in the multi-lingual, multi-cultural environment. 

All foreign language majoring university graduates would have fifth-level standard, while 70 percent of other students will have the third level.

However, the disbursement is the only thing that has been fulfilled, with VND5.4 trillion having been spent so far.

The VND9.3 trillion national program on teaching foreign languages at general schools by 2020 has spent VND5.4 trillion so far. However, MOET admitted that the goals of the program may be unattainable by 2020.

The failure of the large-scale program is due to impractical targets and implementation.

Cao Huy Thao, former headmaster of the Vietnam-Australia International High School, believes the blunder in implementing the program lies in the investment policy. The same investment level is allocated to different localities, despite their different conditions. 

“HCMC must not have the same goals in English teaching as Lao Cai and Bac Kan provinces, and ethnic minority students must not have the same goals with students in large urban areas”.

In HCMC, the teaching of foreign languages under the national program has not been applauded by teachers and students.

The problems lie in the unreasonable curricula, the lack of native speaking teachers and design of lessons.

After eight years, only 1.6 million students in third, fourth and fifth grades out of 7.8 million students study English with four periods a week. Under the program, 100 percent of students would study English for 10 years by 2020 and English would be available at general schools by 2025.

While big money has been spent, the students’ foreign language skills have not improved. More than 306,000 high school students scored less than 5  (81.2 percent) at the 2015 finals. The average score students got from the 2016 foreign language test was 3.43.

MOET said that experts comments were ‘too general’ and will not help, especially when there are only three more years to fulfill the national program.


Is the national foreign-language teaching project forgotten?

Costly education project debacle causes loss in public confidence

Thanh Mai


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