Vietnam city lacks money, qualified Filipinos for English program

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Filipina April Gravette R. Miralles teaches English at a primary school in Ho Chi Minh City

In late 2012 Ho Chi Minh City began to employ Filipinos to teach English at primary and secondary schools, but the program has been hit recently by lack of money and qualified candidates.

The city's education department planned to hire around 100 teachers, but has only recruited 13 for 27 primary and 10 secondary schools. It is set to add another 26 soon.

Initially it promised to pay half of the teachers' salaries of US$2,000 each, but the truth is that the schools have had to pay and charge parents to cover them, Phap Luat Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper reported.

Students taught by the Filipino teachers pay an additional VND120,000-150,000 (US$5.70-7.12) a month.

District 2 got two Filipino teachers last year and shares them between four schools to lower the cost.

Several schools have refused to take them, fearing they would be unable to meet the expense.

Teachers said the financial issue should not be overlooked especially since the benefits have not been significant.

Nguyen Thi Kim Chau, a senior English teacher at Hoa Lu secondary school in District 9, said the Filipino teacher at her school only has a primary school teacher's background and uses unsuitable methods in class and has a heavy accent.

The lack of qualified teachers has interfered with English teaching at many expensive schools which used to hire foreign teachers from language centers. They ended the contracts after being informed about the city's plan, but failed to get teachers in the end.

Some have resumed cooperation with the language centers after being pressured by parents.

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