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Lack of English teachers in HCMC’s primary schools

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Many primary schools in HCM City are facing a shortage of English teachers due to new recruitment requirements. Photo courtesy of thanhnien.vn

Lack of English teachers in HCMC’s primary schools

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is facing a severe shortage of English teachers in primary schools, partly because of stricter quality criteria required under a new recruitment programme.

Some of the Vietnamese city’s districts have been able to hire only one English teacher, where demand had been for more than 30.

Tan Phu district Department of Education and Training deputy head Tran Trong Khiem said that as HCMC was currently organising an English programme for all students, many primary schools have had a difficult time recruiting enough English teachers.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the district had to hire 34 English teachers, but only received seven applications, and six of them were hired.

Similarly, Go Vap district People’s Committee needed 30 teachers in English teachers for primary schools.

Go Vap district Department of Education and Training head Nguyen Thanh Thuy said the district was able to recruit only one teacher.

Cu Chi district Department of Education and Training head Tran Van Toan said English teacher recruitment in urban districts faces difficulties and is even more challenging for suburban districts such as Cu Chi, Binh Chanh and Go Vap.

Not many teachers want to work in suburban districts, he said.

“Although Cu Chi district does not require much, the number of primary English teachers applying for the position has not met demand,” Toan said.

Tran Trong Khiem said that previous generations of English teachers need to graduate with an English major and have certificates of pedagogical skills.

However, the new recruitment scheme asks candidates to have a degree from universities of education, and this has resulted in a shortage of English teachers in primary schools in recent years.

In fact, there are many graduates with English proficiency since most universities have specialised English training courses, but there are not many graduates from pedagogical universities.

In addition, because of the low pay, English teachers’ turnover rate is high, especially at public schools. Many teachers have decided to leave and work at private institutions where they can earn a higher salary.

To maintain the minimum number of English teachers, most schools have signed contracts with teachers from language centres.

However, schools can only sign contracts with language centres approved by HCMC’s Department of Education and Training, based on quality evaluation criteria.



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