Vietnam plans to teach foreign language from first grade

Students sing the national during a ceremony marking the new school year at a primary school in Hanoi. Photo by AFP
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Obligatory foreign language studies currently start from sixth grade, but a new program would start them sooner.

Vietnam is drafting a new education program to introduce foreign languages into its first grade curriculum, according to the Ministry of Education and Training.

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Nguyen Minh Thuyet, head of the program, said it will mean primary school pupils would be taught at least one foreign language from a younger age.

Classes could start from third grade, but areas “with sufficient conditions” could start teaching from first grade, he said.

No details have been discussed about which foreign language should be selected for the young learners, but given current programs, the option is likely to be English. A number of schools also teach French, Russian or Chinese as their primary foreign language.

Obligatory foreign language lessons in Vietnam currently start from sixth grade, but many children in big cities are sent to foreign language centers from as young as three years old.

Thuyet said primary school pupils should only study a foreign language for about an hour a week, because any more would overwhelm them.

Other core parts of primary education will continue to be math, Vietnamese and education about life, nature, society and technology. Computer studies, arts and sports will also be obligatory.

The new program aims to provide early vocational orientation, and will include classes about laws and economics from 10th grade, Thuyet said.

He said the draft will receive public feedback before taking effect next year.

-VNExpress

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