Compulsory English Teacher Training Program Unveiled

Thousands of foreign workers are currently teaching English in Vietnam. The Ministry of Education has now said these workers will need to undergo an in-country training program. Here are the details.

English language learning in Vietnam is a big business. Driven by greater international economic integration, the country has put in place a number of policies and programs to try to drive up the number of Vietnamese that can speak English.

The National Foreign Languages program, for example, was designed to see almost all Vietnamese students learning English or another foreign language from pre-school to their high school graduation. This has not been realized but progress has been made with the expansion of English language centers ballooning in recent years.

That said, with the rapid proliferation of English language learning, questions have been raised over the quality of both the teachers and the courses being taught. With this in mind, a decision was issued by the Ministry of Education and Training earlier this week that mandates an English teaching training program for foreigners teaching English in Vietnam.

With a huge number of English teachers in the country, and many English teachers having made the move to open their own English centers, the Vietnam Briefing goes in depth on Decision 4159/QD-BGDDT and explains the new training requirements.

Who does it apply to?

This decision and the accompanying training program applies to just about every non-Vietnamese English teacher in Vietnam. To be clear, the decision specifically states that the program is for:

  • Native English speakers with college degree or higher;
  • Foreigners with a college degree in English or higher; and
  • Foreigners with a college degree or higher and a foreign language proficiency certificate of level 5 or higher according to the 6-level Foreign Language Competency Framework for Vietnam or the equivalent.

Goals of the training program

The training program broadly is designed to ensure a certain level of quality among foreign English teachers in Vietnam. It does, however, list several notable specific goals:

  • Improve general teaching ability;
  • Tailor content to the culture and context of Vietnam;
  • Develop a positive attitude and work spirit among teachers; and
  • Develop an understanding as to how to respect Vietnamese customs and cultural traditions.

Program outline

The program covers 10 topics over 160 45-minute teaching periods. This is intended to be the equivalent of 120 teaching hours.

Course guide by sessions

Topic Total Theory Practice
Overview of the culture and context of teaching and learning English in Vietnam 15 10 5
Theory and methods of teaching English 15 10 5
Methods of teaching English language knowledge 15 10 5
Methods of teaching English skills 25 15 10
Lesson planning 10 4 6
Classroom management 10 4 6
Applying information technology and developing teaching materials 15 5 10
Methods of monitoring and evaluation 15 5 10
Methods of teaching English to Vietnamese children 10 6 4
Methods of teaching English to Vietnamese youth 10 6 4
Knowledge, methods and skills for teaching English 140 75 65
Internship 20   20
Total 160 75 85


Note that foreign English language teachers will now be required to undertake an internship. These will be run for 20 training sessions or 15 hours. Internships will be broken down into three parts: observation, practice, and reflection.


Teachers being trained will be assessed and given a score from 0 to 10 with the latter indicating full proficiency and the former indicating no proficiency.

Teachers being trained will be required to achieve a minimum score of 5 or higher. Those who fail to meet this requirement will need to be re-evaluated.

Certificates of Completion will be issued to the applicants that successfully complete the training program.

Note that after completing the training program, trainee teachers who have attended at least 80 percent of classes and passed the evaluation can evaluate other trainees.


English language schools and centers will develop their own teaching materials, which will be assessed by a Teaching Materials Appraisal Council.

The Teaching Materials Appraisal Council is established by the school or center administering the training program. Members of the council must be:

  • Experts, scientists, researchers, managers, or lecturers with English language training and a master's degree;
  • Have good moral qualities; and
  • Have experience in developing training programs, in particular in the field of English teaching.

Note that members of the Teaching Materials Appraisal Council cannot be involved in creating the documents they will be required to assess.

Outcomes of the English training program will then need to be reported to the Ministry of Education and Training via the Department of Teachers and Educational Management Officers.


Non-Vietnamese that wish to teach English in Vietnam will now need to undergo a localized training program. These will be administered by the English centers or schools themselves and will more-or-less apply to everyone regardless of experience or education.

Teacher training, however, is only one part of opening an English center in Vietnam. Foreign teachers or businesspersons looking to enter this market will also need to consider visas, taxes, and human resources more broadly. For support in managing these requirements, foreign English training firms should contact the market entry experts at Dezan Shira and Associates.


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