Tightening rule on intl foreign language exams negatively affecting students

The announcement lately of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) on temporarily stopping international foreign language certification examinations to tighten management has severely affected students, especially those ready to graduate from university and in need of such a certificate to complete the procedure. Universities nationwide are trying to help their undergraduates cope with the situation and ensure student rights.

The Foreign Language Center of HUTECH is holding English language classes for its students.

A quick look at popular social networks reveals similar posts expressing concerns over the sudden suspension of international certification exams for English (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE), Japanese (NAT-TEST), Korean (TOPIK).

Many undergraduates state that they only need a valid foreign language certificate to complete necessary documents for their graduation process. Such a stop of certification exam organization this November and December might result in their inability to graduate from university.

Similarly, a large number of twelve-graders plan to use an international foreign language certificate as a passport into their wished university, and are going to sit an exam at the end of this year. This unexpected suspension has caused unnecessary worries among them to the level that they are thinking of changing to other majors.

Head of the Student Affairs Department in Saigon University La Thanh Hung stated that most universities in Vietnam nowadays use a certain international foreign language certificate in compliance with the European language competency framework as one graduation requirement. Therefore, the sudden stop of organization of international foreign language certification exam will inevitably affect final-year students the most.

Agreeing that the observance of Circular 11/2022/TT-BGDDT is essential, Director of the Communications and Admission Center of HCMC University of Food Industry hoped that both management agencies and examination organizers cooperate to quickly finish necessary papers so that these exams can be held again soon to answer the demands of test-takers. He added that his university offers a wide selection of different foreign language certificates for undergraduates to meet the graduation requirements or for high school students to fulfill admission conditions.

Since most international foreign language certification exams select their Vietnamese partners strictly as to exam organization capability, it is not too hard for these units to prepare necessary legal documents to complete the registration procedure.

However, it seems the recent decision of MoET is a little abrupted. If it had worked with examination organizers sooner to identify a detailed registration pathway to avoid such suspensions, there would not have been so much worry among candidates. It would be more sensible that the MoET only stop any infamous test centers to investigate, and reliable ones should be allowed to continue holding these exams while adding missing documents.

Dr. Nguyen Quoc Anh, Vice President of University of Technology in HCMC (HUTECH) advised that any students planning to use a foreign language certificate to satisfy the graduation requirements should either wait a bit more for the decision of MoET or consider sitting a B1 test according to the European language competency framework.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do stressed that the requirements in Circular No.11/2022/TT-BGDDT are essential to ensure the test quality and test-takers’ rights. They are not hard to fulfill, as they mostly focus on organization, human resources, examination facilities, security, and suitable content to the Vietnamese culture and customers.

He added that his ministry is actively working with related units to review and support test centers to finish the registration procedure so that these centers can rehost the certification exams as soon as possible but still observing the law.

Deputy Director Tran Thi Van Anh of the Foreign Language and Informatics Centers (under the HCMC Department of Education and Training) said that her center announced the suspension of foreign language certification exams in the middle of this September to complete necessary documents as requested by MoET. During this time, it reserves the exam fees of test applicants and will adjust the test dates with proper announcements to test-takers.

Because the suspension of foreign language certification exam is happening nationwide to all languages, the HCMC Education and Training Department will advise HCMC People’s Committee in delivering corresponding instruction to the People’s Committees of all 21 districts and Thu Duc City to first check any partners organizing such tests in their areas, and then only allow those having an approval from MoET to rehost these tests.