Bilingual courses lack teachers hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A shortage of qualified teachers at high schools nationwide is the major obstacle preventing the implementation of a pilot bilingual programme on teaching maths and natural science in English and Vietnamese, delegates said at a workshop held by the Vietnam Education Publishing House last week in HCM City.

Speaking at the workshop, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien said the ministry in the 2014-15 academic year had encouraged high schools for gifted students and other high schools with enough resources to pilot the bilingual programmes.

Provinces and cities implementing the programme in primary schools should continue to do so in secondary schools, he said.

At the workshop, the national publishing house also presented the country's first bilingual maths textbooks in English and Vietnamese.

The bilingual programme is part of the national project on teaching foreign languages by 2020.

Deputy Minister Hien said the country had a shortage of qualified maths and science teachers able to teach in English, even though many students could take part in such classes.

Only large cities such as Hanoi, HCM City, Da Nang and several provinces including Vinh Phuc have been able to carry out the programme.

In HCM City, besides schools for gifted students such as Le Hong Phong and Tran Dai Nghia, another eight high schools, including Le Quy Don, Bui Thi Xuan and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, are teaching maths and science subjects in English.

Students at 56 primary and secondary schools in HCM City are benefiting from the programme in the 2015-16 period. The teachers at these schools in HCM City are foreign nationals.

Tran Duc Huy, Vice Principal of Le Hong Phong School, said the school had implemented the programme for eight years before the ministry's requirement.

He and his colleagues compiled English textbooks for the academic subjects.

However, only a few teachers are qualified in the academic subject and English, he added.

Nguyen Van Nghe of the Dong Thap Province's Department of Education and Training said his province could not expand the programme because of the shortage of teachers qualified in both fields.

Hoang Minh Quan, Head of Vinh Phuc Province's Department of Education and Training, said that his department was providing training courses for teachers of these subjects. The training is expected to be completed in the 2015-16 year.

Le Tien Dung, Head of Tra Vinh Province's Department of Education and Training's high school education division, said the programme would begin in the second semester at four schools, including a school for the gifted in the province.

"With bilingual maths textbooks from the Vietnam Education Publishing House, it will be easy to implement the programme," Dung said.

The publishing house plans to publish more bilingual textbooks for science subjects for the programme.

In the bilingual programme, in the first semester, maths and science teachers will teach in Vietnamese during classes and will do homework in English.

In the next semester, both Vietnamese and English will be used to teach classes, and after that, only English will be used as the skills of the teachers and students improve.

Huy of the Le Hong Phong School said that bilingual textbooks should be used only for the beginning period of the programme.

Mac Van Thien, Chairman of the Board at the Vietnam Education Publishing House, said that in the 2016-17 academic year the house would publish more bilingual textbooks in physics and chemistry. It also plans to publish English textbooks soon.-VNA