HCM City discourages pre-first grade classes
  • | PlTPHCM, | March 01, 2012 08:38 AM
 >>  Pre-first grade class - education level which only exists in Vietnam

Educators in HCM City are making efforts to encourage parents to send their children to regular preschools instead of privately-run pre-first grade classes.


Regular preschools provide a solid basis for students to enter the first grade

Even through primary schools will only begin enrolling first grade students in September, parents often send their children to pre-first grade classes, or the classes which prepare students for the first grade beginning from March.

Statistics from preschools in HCM City’s Tan Phu District showed that by February 2012 as many as 33% of local five-year old children do not attend regular school. Half of these students are sent by their parents to privately-run classes which focus only on reading and writing in preparation for the first grade.

Chung Bich Phuong, Deputy Director in charge of preschool education at the district office of education, said many parents have the false perception that it’s no necessary for a five-year-old child to attend regular classes to be ready for the first grade.

“This phenomenon is inappropriate, and seriously affects the quality of education,” Phuong emphasised.

Teacher practices add to parent pressures

According to Phuong, many parents of first grade students have complained that first grade teachers separate their classes into two groups: those who can read and those who cannot. Not wanting their children in the 'remedial' group, parents do all they can to make sure that their children's reading level is up to standard for the first grade.

Cao Thi Mai Loan, the principle at Preschool No. 5, in Binh Thanh District, attributed the situation to parents’ worry that their children could not keep up with their classmates in the first grade.

How to move forward

The solution for this problem, at least for the Tan Phu District Office of Education, has been to map out for parents and teachers the 'correct' role of preschool education, encouraging parents not to send five-year olds to pre-first grade classes.

Bich Nga, deputy director of Nha Be District office of education said the district is following the example of Tan Phu District.

Phuong said that regular preschools provide a solid basis for students to enter the first grade, and that there is no need to enroll them into pre-first grade classes.

Tran Thi Kim Thanh, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Education and Training highly praised the efforts of Tan Phu District. The department has advised that the 23 remaining districts follow suite.

“At preschools, children have a chance to familiarise themselves with numbers and alphabet. The regular first grade curriculum has been tested and is suitable for the age and psychological development of the students to facilitate their reading and writing," said Le Ngoc Diep, head of the municipal office of primary education.

One parent from Tan Phu District admitted, “Now I realise that it was a mistake to send our kid to a pre-first grade class. Once he got into the first grade he was bored, couldn't concentrate and was ready for new material.”

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