Volunteers to teach kids

Web.HCYU.29/01/2013 - Between 300 and 500 voluntary teachers from native English-speaking countries will come to Vietnam each year to work in schools following a landmark deal. Source: VNS.

The agreement between the Ministry of Education and Training's National Foreign Language 2020 Project and the English Language Company (ELC), a teaching school from Australia, will see the volunteers work in schools of all levels.

These foreigners, coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa, will teach English under a programme entitled Teach and Travel in Vietnam.

They will be trained and assigned teaching positions by the National Foreign Language 2020 Project and the ELC.

Nguyen Ngoc Hung, the National Foreign Language 2020 Project's executive manager said before their arrival in Vietnam, these teachers would be trained by ELC to attain an English teaching certificate.

Hung added that the voluntary teachers would be supported with VND6 million (US$290) per month, equivalent to the average salary of Vietnamese English teachers during their one-semester period of working in Vietnam.

He said the money was insignificant as it was based on the voluntary spirit of foreigners who wished to contribute to the country's education system while travelling to Vietnam.

The money would be paid by hiring schools, which are also responsible for providing accommodation for the teachers.

David Scott, managing director of the English Language School said those participating in the programme were not coming with a view to earn money.

"They are coming because we are offering them the unique opportunity of living within a Vietnamese community, learning about this country, working in a public school and being supported by our organisation."

"This is more about cultural exchange than anything else." Scott added, stressing that the teachers were also genuinely interested in education.

Lawrence Kent, a 25-year-old British philosophy graduate who arrived in HCM City for training last week said he participated in the programme to gain an actual experience of teaching English for young people in an unfamiliar country while being given a chance to engage with the Vietnamese lifestyle.

"I expect the programme to equip me with the best possible tools to teach," Kent said, adding that it would be "an excellent experience".


Regarding the placement of the teachers, Scott said they would be sent where they are most needed throughout the country, be it a rural or urban areas.

In 2003, they would be placed to work in the Mekong Delta, HCM City, Hanoi and a number of provinces and cities in central Vietnam.

Scott said 100 teachers are set to arrive in Vietnam by next month for training and they would start working after the Tet holiday.

The next group of 250 teachers is expected to arrive in August.

"All of the teachers are well qualified, including a number of Oxford University graduates, and many have excellent teaching experience in high quality international schools."

Scott added that ELC also planned to bring in a larger group of about 450 more teachers to Vietnam in future.

Hung, from the National Foreign Language 2020 Project, said the ministry was working to make a list of schools with the need for foreign English teachers to place the teachers.