A regulation stipulating that English language teachers must achieve required scores on international English tests come into force with the start of the new academic year, but many teachers are unable to meet the new requirements.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, all English language teachers are required to score at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Teachers whose scores do not make the grade would be required to improve their skills and re-take the exam. Those who failed the exam twice would be forced to quit their teaching jobs.

However, surveys carried out by the ministry revealed that few teachers have passed the exams.
In southern Ben Tre province, only 61 out of 700 English language teachers were able to achieve the required score.

In Hanoi , nearly 150 teachers from 90 primary schools took the exams, but only 28, which accounted for 18 percent, passed.

About 500 teachers in southern Soc Trang province will take the exams next month, and many said most would struggle to pass and need to take short-term training courses to improve their skills.

Nguyen Thu Nga, an English language teacher at Le Loi Secondary School in Soc Trang province, said many teachers in the area could adequately teach reading and writing skills, but struggled with listening and speaking skills, which were also tested in the exams.

"We (teachers) live in rural areas and have little chance of improving our listening and speaking skills," said Nga. "To be good at speaking and listening, you need to practise a lot."

Nguyen Hoai Chuong, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Education and Training, said improving the English skills of teachers was not an easy task and required a long time.

Chuong said it would take until 2020 for teachers to achieve the required scores. He said the department would develop plans to improve the English skills of teachers who failed the exams and want to continue their jobs. /.