Polytechnic students struggle to meet foreign language standards

  • November 02, 2018

Economics, diplomacy and social science majors find it easier to learn foreign languages than students at polytechnic schools.

Le Van Hung is a second-year student at the Hanoi University of Science & Technology. He finished the basic English program last year and satisfied the standards the school set for first-year students (TOEIC 300 score). 

Hung said from now on he will learn English by himself so that he can obtain 450 score from TOEIC when he graduates from the school.

Many of his friends could not meet the TOEIC 300 level after the first year. Most students reached 300 after two years.

Hung has had difficulties in learning English, especially in listening and pronunciation.

“I can understand what teachers say, but I cannot catch ideas when listening,” Hung said.

The problem, according to Hung, lies in the teaching method: students have more grammar lessons than listening practice hours. At school, students listen to cassettes, while at home they use smartphones or computers to practice listening.

Economics, diplomacy and social science majors find it easier to learn foreign languages than students at polytechnic schools.

“The teaching aids have not changed over many years. However, thanks to technology, students can learn English by themselves easily now,” Hung said.

Coming from a northern mountainous province, Nguyen Van Cuong, has had a lot of difficulties in learning English. 

“At general school, I focused on studying math, physics and chemistry to prepare for the university entrance exam,” he explained. “Now I have to learn English from the very beginning.”

Since Cuong doesn’t have enough money to go to foreign language centers, he struggles with English lessons. He is not sure if he can pass in English, and he has only one more year at school.

A university lecturer in Hanoi confirmed that English is the fear of the majority of polytechnic students. Many students still don’t have their bachelor’s degree because they failed English exams.

Nguyen Ha An, a software developer, finished school two years ago and found a good job at a Vietnamese-owned software firm. However, he has decided to put off everything to continue studying English.

“Honestly speaking, I am very reluctant to study again. But I have no other choice,” An said.

He said that though the current job is good, he still needs to practice English to seek job opportunities at foreign invested firms which promise higher salaries and job promotions.

The lecturer noted that polytechnic students find it more difficult to learn English than other majors, who already have relatively good English skills before entering universities.

Source: Vietnamnet

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