HCM City aims for all students to learn English from first grade hinh anh 1A primary student speaks with a native English teacher. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Ho Chi Minh City plans to have all students learn English since the first grade starting in the 2018-2019 academic year, according to Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the primary education division at the city’s Department of Education and Training.

Based on a Government project entitled Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages in the National Education System in the 2008-2020 period, the city’s People’s Committee made a programme to implement a complusory education of English for students at all levels from elementary, secondary and high education (grades 1-12) from 2011 to 2020.

The programme began in the 2012-2013 academic year. It aims to teach English to all students from the first to 12th grades with high quality, meeting the real demand of usage.

In the programme, students are taught English with native teachers. Their capacity of using English is assessed by international standards.

Nguyen Van Troi Primary School in District 4 is one of the schools to carry out this programme for its first graders and above.

The primary school has five grades. Each grade has students in one to two classrooms learning English under the programme.

In the first, second and third grades, students have lessons to help practise the skills of listening and speaking. Students in fourth and fifth grades learn sentence patterns.

Tran Nguyen Nhu Quynh, an English teacher at Nguyen Van Troi Primary School, told Giao Duc Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (HCM City Education) newspaper that most of the students learning English communicate confidently and freely.

Many primary schools in the city have carried out other programmes to teach intensive English or integrate English into other content subjects besides the programme on complusory education of English for students at schools from 2011 to 2020, which is provided free.

As of the 2017-2018 academic year, 91 percent of students in the city have learnt English since the first grade. They have learned programmes of Phonics, DynEd, E-Study, i-Learn, ICLC and iSmar.

The quality of English teaching at primary schools was not the same, Vinh said, adding that the department would recheck foreign language centres that co-operate with schools to teach English in the coming time to ensure more effectivenes.

Moreoever, the department would ensure there is no monopoly of any foreign language centre or company in the cooperation with primary schools.

However, Vinh said that many primary schools in the city faced difficulties in facilities for teaching English and recruitment of English teachers because of low salaries.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, the city only recruited 1,797 English teachers, meeting 70 percent of its total demand, the department said.

Nearly 40 percent of these teachers met the Ministry of Education and Training’s new standards. - VNA