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July 11, 2013

Vietnam | Teacher Development

Pygmalion effect unlikely to propel Vietnam's English upgrade plans

English-Teaching-in-VietnamAn ambitious government project aimed at churning out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 has failed to enthuse experts who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish in 7 years a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades.

THANH NIEN NEWS: Hundreds of thousands of students sitting for their university entrance examinations this week would have been surprised to know that many of their teachers were sharing their acute anxiety.

“I just feel extremely nervous,” said Nguyen Duc Nghiem, a junior high school English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City. “The upcoming test is wearing me down,” he told Vietweek.

Nghiem is among some 86,000 English teachers across Vietnam who are taking European standard exams aimed at gauging if they are competent enough to churn out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 as part of an ambitious government project. The tests for the teachers are being carried out gradually until 2015 and those who fail the screening can face dismissal.

“I only wish we had more time to get prepared for such tough tasks,” Nghiem said.

The timeframe of the project has been severely criticized by independent experts, who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades. Other things about the project do not add up as well, they say.

Read the full story from Thanh Nien News.

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