The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has issued a pilot Korean language curriculum to be applied at general schools that have a 10-year teaching system.
Under the decision which took effect on February 9, Korean and German are defined as “first foreign languages”.
The Ministry said Korean language would be taught from the third to 12th grades. The pilot teaching will be implemented in areas with high demand which have necessary conditions in terms of teachers and material facilities.
Nguyen Xuan Thanh from MOET on March 4 stressed that under the decision, Korean has become one of the first foreign languages on a trial basis. The curriculum for teaching Korean as a second foreign language has already been released.
Thanh said this doesn't mean that Korean will be a compulsory subject for all students. The phrase here is just used to modify the phrase 'first foreign language'. This means that each student has to study one first foreign language and can choose among the first foreign languages listed by MOET.
According to an education expert, there are three categories related to subjects – compulsory subjects, selective subjects and elective/optional subjects.
With 'selective subjects', there are many choices for students. Optional subjects are not mandatory and students can register to study the subjects if they want.
In the case of the Korean language, it should be referred to as a selective subject.
He said integrating Korean and German into the national education syllabus is a normal occurence and this will benefit students.
The subject will help develop the ability of communicating in Korean language. It will also help students with skills in studying foreign languages in general, thus satisfying requirements for labor force quality.
Under the decision, students will reach the first level when finishing the sixth grade, the second level when finishing the 9th grade and third level when finishing the 12th grade after having 1,155 learning periods (45 minutes for each period).
The teaching of foreign languages at general schools has been implemented for many years. First foreign languages, the selective subjects, include English, French, Chinese, Russian and Japanese. Foreign second languages that are optional subjects include Korean and German.
After a period of teaching Korean and German on a trial basis in some localities, MOET realized that there was increasingly high demand from students.
The decision is keeping with the agreements signed between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Germany on teaching their languages at Vietnamese schools.
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