The Ministry of Education and Training has proposed to spend over VND857bn (USD36.85m) to improve the qualification of teachers at the preschool level.
Pre-school teacher in Gia Lai Province
Statistics from the Ministry of Education and Training show that Vietnam had 337,488 kindergarten teachers for 2017-2018 school year. Kindergarten teachers usually take one to two-year training courses at vocational schools. However, as the revised Education Law stipulated that kindergarten teachers must have at least an associate degree. Unqualified teacher numbers stand at around 107,150.
According to the ministry, the revised law will only take effect in 2019. By then, many teachers will retire and so the number of unqualified teachers will decrease. Moreover, kindergarten teachers at public schools in developed countries such as the UK, Finland or Sweden must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia also require teachers to have at least associate degrees.
The ministry emphasised the importance of teachers at kindergartens for they need a comprehensive knowledge of the mind, physiology, health, nutrition, arts, music, and language development to provide the best for children. A short course at vocational schools is not enough for the teachers to learn. They may not have time practising with children and commit serious mistakes after going to work.
The ministry also pointed out the lax management and loose enrolment processes at vocational schools. Kindergartens play an important role in the human resources development strategy and it's necessary to improve the qualification of the teachers.
It is estimated that over 80,000 teachers will have to be trained again for about a year to gain an associate degree. Teachers who are close to retirement age only need to attend specific training classes. Meanwhile, two teacher training vocational schools will be upgraded to be colleges.
According to the ministry, Vietnam needs a total VND857bn for the programme. The local authorities must calculate carefully to fund the project. Private kindergartens and the teachers must also pay for the training.