Vietnam Slams TOEIC
Vietnam's education development strategy for 2008-2020 plans to implement English as a compulsory subject in primary schools. In accordance with this objective, the Ministry of Education has signed an MOU with the US ETS (Education Testing Services) to make TOEIC the standardized test to evaluate students' proficiency in English. Nevertheless, Vietnam had a disastrous experience with the A-B-C certificate-based English system many years ago and some fear exists that the recent adoption of TOEIC by the Ministry will simply repeat those sour lessons.
Many Vietnamese teachers are concerned that TOEIC is based not only on outdated linguistic theories, but also relies too heavily on memorization. Dr Vu Thi Phuong Anh, Director of the Centre for Testing and Examining Education Quality under HCM City National University, pointed to the disparity between the money South Korea and Japan each spend on English as a Second Language education and the ability of many of their students to fluently speak the language. When one looks at the success of ESL in Singapore and Malaysia one notices these countries use of products suited to the needs of their students. Furthermore, Dr Vu Thi Phuong Anh went on to say, "the fact that many universities still use TOEIC can be explained by two reasons 1. Ignorance, 2. Universities pretend to be deaf and dumb to benefit certain people".
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By Sean McCall