Vietnamese kindergarteners are being westernized so fast that some can't even write their names in their native language, educators have warned.
The situation was discussed at the first meeting between HCMC Department of Education and Training and international kindergartens Tuesday.
Nguyen Tien Dat, deputy director of the department, recalled a story in which a local student recieved her English certificate with high marks but couldn't even write her Vietnamese name on the exam.
Dat said adults had to help her write the name in order to pass the test, according to local newswire Vietnamnet.
A total of 36 international kindergartens are operating in HCMC and few offer programs or activities in Vietnamese.
The Anglophone International School administers kindergarten and primary school classes to a student body that is half Vietnamese and half foreign. But the curricula are all in English.
Fosco school also offers foreign programs.
La Anh Mai, priciple of the Fosco school, which also offers foreign-based ciricula, said the school organized special events for traditional festivals like the Mid-Autumn celebration so that children could learn about and discuss their country's cultures and traditions.
"But all the activities are conducted in English," Mai said.
Officials at the meeting said kindergarten was the crucial age at which learning languages was easiest. They said studying Vietnamese and English at the same time would be best for students.
Nguyen Tien Dat said every country in the world forces the children to learn their mother tongue first, or at least at the same time as a foreign language.
"No country allows schools to teach children in foreign languages first."
Dat said schools in Vietnam should teach Vietnamese programs to Vietnamese children.
He added that schools would be fined or suspended if they teach in foreign languages without the permission of the Ministry of Education and Training.