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Vietnam metropolis requests halt to controversial English program

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee on July 5 issued a dispatch, requesting the municipal Department of Education and Training to halt the implementation of the “Integrated Program,” which was intended to replace the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).

Vietnam metropolis requests halt to controversial English program
Vietnam metropolis requests halt to controversial English program

The IGCSE has been piloted in the southern hub’s elementary and middle schools since 2010. Unfortunately, the “Integrated Program” has met with objection for its lack of transparency recently.

According to the dispatch, this recent program will be stopped until the DOET finishes its evaluation on IGCSE and waits for the committee’s approval.

The committee also asked the DOET to report the reason for replacing IGCSE and how the program’s termination could affect students.

The report is requested to be done this month.

The “Integrated Program” is part of a project to adjust the teaching and learning methods in the subjects of mathematics, science and English including advanced standards intended to ease academic pressure, the DOET announced at a conference on June 23.

The DOET said the program has been developed from the UK National Curriculum and has been integrated with the Vietnamese curriculum.

Accordingly, the new program will teach elementary and middle school students English in six shifts per week. Even such subjects as math and science will be taught in English.

However, on June 30, British Consul General Douglas Barnes made a statement to the local press, affirming that there is no agreement between the Department for Education (DfE) or the Standard and Testing Agency (STA) from the UK and the DOET and/or EMG Education – the distributor of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in Vietnam.

The statement has shocked the public since it completely denies the DOET’s claim that they were working in cooperation with the DfE and that they had worked with the British department since December 2011 on the development of the program.

After the statement was released, on July 5, British Consul General Douglas Barnes said he received a dispatch from the DOET, asking him to correct what he stated on June 30.

In response to the request, the Consul General told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on July 4 that he would not take back any of his words.

Also on that day, the British Consul General sent a diplomatic note, confirming that his statement was just to clarify the announcement of the DOET at the conference and that he has no responsibility to correct any information.

Additionally, according to a source of Tuoi Tre, before issuing the statement on June 30, the British Consul General received verification from the DfE and the STA, as well as sent a diplomatic note to ask the DOET for correcting information on the cooperation as the department announced to local media.

The British Consul General then had to make a statement denying the cooperation because there was no correction from the DOET.