Vietnam has had a prolonged history of being tossed to and fro when it comes to language use. Though its history spans 4,000 years, the invasion and colonization by various powers over time weakened its culture. From the invasion of the French in the mid 1800s, Vietnam’s cultural language was altered. This is because French was taken up as the foreign language of choice to be learned. Up until 1954, French was the most widely spoken foreign language spoken in Vietnam. For more information on the subject visit www.worldwide.rs. From 1954 the role of English in Vietnam’s foreign language policy took on a more active role.
The division of Vietnam into two factions
1954 marked the year when Vietnam was divided into two, the north and south. Each of the two was under the rule of a super power with the north being governed by the former Soviet Union and the south under US rule. With this significant role, English became the language of choice in the south to foster interactions with the US. This is while Russian dominated the north. In this time, there were four spoken national languages namely Russian, English, Chinese and French.
Due to this division, English was not embraced equally across the country. In fact, it was shunned in the north as an inferior language. This unit lasted up till 1975 where Russian dominated the scene as the dominant language. As Russian was extensively taught, the role of English in Vietnam’s foreign language policy declined in popularity, only being taught at the upper secondary level in major cities up until 1986.
Present day involvement of English in Vietnam
Vietnam suffered a great deal between 1975 and 1986 as the former Soviet Union installed Russian as the national language. This is because it prevented Vietnam from properly interacting with the world. Due to this language barrier, the economy did not progress as it would have had there been proper interactions with the rest of the world. This however changed when Vietnam came to terms with its closed upstate being the cause for the economic decline.
Vietnam started an open door policy in 1986 where it embraced all nations despite their political affiliations. A free market was also established, opening up the economy to investors. This brought on a great need to understand English as a language of communication. The need for English to be learned was so strong that it was made a compulsory subject in secondary education and the tertiary level. The role of English in Vietnam’s foreign language policy has been great as it has influenced how Vietnam interacts with the world as a whole.
This can be clearly seen by the move of the government through the ministry of education and training to design a new curriculum in 2002. This curriculum was rolled out in 2008. It sought to address the inadequacies in the wrong teaching of the English language that existed beforehand. The government also set out a ten year plan from 2008-2020 that was rolled out on September 30th of 2008. This is an investment by the government worth billions that promote teaching and learning of foreign languages in the formal education system with a focus on English.