VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese parents urge their children to attend foreign language training courses and attend the exams for certificates, even though they don’t understand the meaning of every certificate in the “forest” of certificates.
English centers in HCM City have opened a lot of training courses to help students prepare for exams for Cambridge certificates at different levels – Starters, Movers, Flyers, KET and PET.
According to the centers, the certificates are very important for students who plan to go studying abroad or work in an international environment. These are the internationally recognized compulsory English certificates for primary and secondary school students to shift to follow the intensive English curricula as required by the HCM City Education and Training Department.
The certificates have also been advertised as bringing the opportunities to students to obtain international education degrees, which would be very useful in their future lives.
The tuitions parents have to pay for their children’s attendance at the training courses are relatively high of between VND1 million and VND3 million. One would have to pay fees to attend the exams for certificates, about $20 for Starters, Movers and Flyers levels, and $32 for higher English level certificates such as KET or PET.
Despite the high tuitions, the number of learners at foreign language centers has been increasing rapidly. In general, children begin attending exam preparation training courses at the ages of 7-12, striving for the certificates of higher and higher levels.
Hoai Sa, a sixth grader of a leading state owned school in HCM City, said he has four English certificates from Starter to KET, and now he goes to CA English center to prepare for the exam for PET certificate, slated for March 2013.
Sa said that his mother has set up an English learning plan for him, under which he would have certificates of different kinds of up to PET level by the time he enters the ninth grade.
He complained that he does not have free time, and he has to learn hard even in summer holiday. Though Sa has got tired of learning, he still keeps going to class every day, because his mother said English certificates are very important in his future life.
What’s it for?
Most of the parents said that obtaining international English certificates in Vietnam is a preparatory step for their children to go studying at foreign universities in the future. However, they don’t have sufficient information about the meaning of every kind of certificate.
A parent has admitted that she brings the son to the foreign language school because she has been advised to do that.
Hoang Hoa, who has a 9-year-old daughter going to a foreign language center in Hanoi, said several million dong for a training course is a small sum of money for her family, and it would be better to bring the girl to class than staying at home.
Ha, a parent, also said she heard that international English certificates are compulsory for those who enroll in foreign universities. “If my child can obtain necessary certificates now, she would be able to go abroad any time she wants,” she explains.
Meanwhile, Doan Thi Thanh Nga, an education consultant, said obtaining as many certificates as possible is not the “best way of investment.”
Nga said different countries and different schools set different requirements on their students. Therefore, it would be better to let children learn English as per their capability. Later, when students decide what schools and what countries to go to, they would attend the exams for suitable certificates.