The amended law proposes lifting pre-school teacher qualification standards from intermediate school graduation to a college education.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the country has 337,488 pre-school teachers, 98.5% of whom meet the current standard of intermediate school graduation.
Explaining the change, the ministry said pre-school lays the foundations of human development, so kindergarten teachers are a determining factor in the success or failure of pre-school educational goals and need to be trained in children’s health and psychology as well as teaching music and developing children’s cognition and language ability.
According to the ministry, the one to two years it takes to receive intermediate school training is not enough time to equip pedagogy students with the required skills. The limited training time does not create conditions for students to practice teaching, meaning they only focus on theories and many teachers lack practical skills.
The admission criteria for pre-school pedagogy students are so easy that many graduates have a history of misconduct or violent behaviour towards children, the ministry said.
Taking examples from around the world, the ministry said developed countries like Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Australia, the US and the Republic of Korea require pre-school teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree or a degree of higher education. Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia have set the qualification standard at college graduation level.
According to the ministry, teacher training will put more of a burden on provincial education budgets.
It takes a teacher holding an intermediate school degree one year to obtain a college degree. The ministry estimated that the training budget for one person reaches VND8 million (US$350) for one year. This means training more than 107,000 teachers would take a budget of over VND857 billion (US$37.3 million) over five years as planned.
In return, teachers who graduate from college will have the opportunity to earn higher salaries, the ministry said.
The two current intermediate pedagogy schools training kindergarten teachers will become pedagogy colleges if they meet requirements, or will be merged to become the pedagogy faculty of existing colleges following the ministry’s plan to eradicate pedagogy intermediate schools.