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Vietnamese children learning to read and write at ages 4-5

Last update: 06:50 | 12/09/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - While educators continue to argue about whether to teach children to read and write at the age of six, Vietnamese parents are practicing both skills with their children aged 4-5.


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The Ministry of Education & Training (MOET) stipulates that preschools must not teach children to read and write before they enter grade 1. The HCMC education department every year releases documents reminding schools to obey MOET’s instruction. 

Educators repeatedly recommend parents not to force children to begin studying too soon. However, instructions and advice cannot prevent urban parents from sending their children to private reading and writing tutoring classes.  

Educators repeatedly recommend parents not to force children to begin studying too soon. However, instructions and advice cannot prevent urban parents from sending their children to private reading and writing tutoring classes.  

There are many progressive parents who want to act on educators’ advice. However, their children still are learning to read and write at preschools.

T. T. S, a parent in Binh Thanh district, said the school, where her daughter attends, begins familiarizing children with letters at the age of 4-5. Her 5 year old daughter is going to enter the final grade at preschool after summer, and knows 24 letters of the Vietnamese alphabet. She can count and write the numerals from zero to 100.

“The teacher told me that my daughter will be practicing spelling in some days and assures me that my child can read and write before going to school,” S said, adding that she cannot imagine what her daughter would do in the first grade.

T. T, a parent in Go Vap, also said her son now has to practice reading and writing every day.

“My son will only turn five in November. But he has to practice writing all day as requested by the teacher,” she said, explaining that she sends the boy to a summer class.

Other parents, while agreeing that there is no need to force children to begin learning too soon, are still sending their children to reading and writing practice classes.

“I am afraid that my daughter won’t have a ‘childhood’ if she has to learn too hard. However, I have to send her to private tutoring class. If I don’t, my daughter will lag behind other classmates and it will be terrible for her,” said Tran Ngoc Quynh, a parent in Cau Giay district in Hanoi.

A teacher at a primary school in Hanoi said she has to prepare two lesson plans for two groups of students, literate and illiterate. However, she admitted that most students are taught to read and write before they go to school. 

“In such conditions, the students of the latter group will be at a disadvantage. Since there are 50-60 students in a class, we don’t have enough time to work with everyone,” she said.


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