Vietnam has had many painful struggles to face as it has entered the modern world, and one of its most recent challenges involves trying to bring its universities in line with world standards. The problem hinges largely around language – Vietnamese universities find it difficult to cooperate and exchange with major foreign universities because the foreign language skills of most students are simply not developed enough. Although Vietnam is experiencing significant growth in tertiary education enrollment, the education those students are receiving will continue to be viewed askance by overseas employers until the university standards can be brought up to par with the rest of the world.
At lower levels of education the push towards learning English is very clear. New policies have led to the increased employment of foreign nationals as English teachers to help achieve a higher level of accuracy and usefulness in English learning programs. Lack of funds is still a big problem, with students being required to contribute fees which are considered high on a national scale in order to attract foreigners and pay them a comfortable salary. As a result, classrooms tend to be large as students’ families pool resources. However, the shift towards foreign nationals as English teachers is a step in the right direction as Vietnam attempts to modernize and integrate with the rest of the world.
In slightly more unusual news relating to Vietnam and the Vietnamese language, the South Korean government has started producing a Vietnamese-language textbook on the topic of how to be a good Korean wife. An increase in marriages between Vietnamese women and Korean men has inspired the launch of ‘wife classes’ in Vietnam. Why the need for the government to step in and create an entire course around the issue? The move is a response to a high failure rate of marriages between Koreans and foreign wives, and an attempt to mitigate related problems such as domestic violence. The South Korean government believes the classes will prove to be a worthwhile investment when it comes to preventing the development of social problems in Korea.