A project to correct students' and teachers' pronunciation is being conducted at elementary schools across 13 districts in Hanoi, Tuoi Tre reported Thursday.
The project, launched by Hanoi's Department of Education and Training at the beginning of this school year (September), aims to help teachers and students pronounce "l" and "n" correctly, according to the newspaper.
In northern Vietnam, people often incorrectly pronounce "l" and "n."
Tuoi Tre said the initiative was piloted in the school year of 2008-2009 in Phu Xuyen District by Nguyen Tri Dung, the deputy head of the department's Primary Education Division.
Dung said the department's survey among 13 districts in Hanoi's outskirts found that over 22 percent of the more than 200,000 surveyed students and nearly 12 percent of the more than 10,000 teachers surveyed used the incorrect pronunciation.
Although the mistaken pronunciation is an accent defect, both schools and communities fail to pay enough attention to the incorrect pronunciations and to correct them, Dung was quoted as saying.
"Teachers are responsible for helping their students discriminate "l" from "n" and be aware of the necessity to correct the wrong pronunciation, as well as how to correct it," said Pham Xuan Tien, head of the department's Primary Education Division.
The Phu Xuyen pilot project proved effective, as the rate of students who used the incorrect pronunciation of "l" and "n" decreased from more than 48 percent to about 20 percent, Tuoi Tre reported.
Tien was quoted as saying that under the new project, schools were ordered to distribute at least one or two periods -- each period of 45 minutes -- per week on students' schedules to correct their pronunciation.
Meanwhile, teachers have to attend group meetings to correct their pronunciations, he added.
However, Nguyen Van Quy, head of Gia Lam District's education division, said to fix the incorrect pronunciation, supports from communities where students are needed as well, not only the schools.
He said there has seen progress in correcting students' pronunciation, but it is difficult to fix entirely, because students stay at school for just a couple of hours, and then go home where they live with their families who suffer the same pronunciation defect.
Moreover, not all teachers are successful in correcting their own pronunciation, which hinders their ability to correct their students, Quy said.
He added that he will propose the department restrict recruiting teachers with poor pronunciation next year.