In the evenings, a group of workers deviates from the usual routine, heading to the foreign language classroom at the Service Center of Thai Nguyen Industrial Zone in Phu Binh District, Thai Nguyen Province.

This classroom, attended by nearly 90 workers from various companies in the industrial zone, was established after a meeting between Nguyen Thanh Hai, the Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, and the workers.

The Power of Language Learning

As Bui Nguyen Son, a worker at Hyundai Aluminum Vina Joint Stock Company, enters the classroom, he greets the teacher in Chinese. Surprisingly, his pronunciation is remarkably smooth. As a seasoned worker in aluminum and glass production, Son never imagined he would be fluent in Chinese.

Although participants’ pronunciation may not be perfect, their classmates encourage them as they practice speaking and reading Chinese sentences.

The two-hour class, which starts at 5:45 pm and ends at 7:45 pm, is designed to accommodate the workers’ busy schedules and ensure they catch the last bus home.

Despite being tired from a full day’s work, all the students are enthusiastic about learning new languages.

“I’ve been learning Chinese since I was a child, mainly through songs and movies, but I couldn’t understand spoken Chinese,” shared Son. “So when I heard about the free Chinese classes offered by the company, I immediately registered.”

Son takes advantage of his commute time to review lessons, making the most of his limited free time at home to spend with his family. He and his daughter spend 30 minutes each evening revising foreign language lessons. This not only strengthens their bond but also allows his daughter to learn some Chinese phrases.

“We didn’t have a chance to learn before, so now with many coworkers in the class, we all strive to attend regularly,” Son added.

Pham Thi Phuong, an employee at Alutec Vina Company, explained that due to the South Korean members on the company’s management board, many workers have enrolled in the South Korean class. They believe learning the language will make working with South Korean-imported machines more convenient and effective.

Thanks to these free language classes, workers can now understand company announcements, search for information on the Internet, and learn new words for daily use.

According to Phuong, understanding their bosses’ opinions used to be a challenge, but now, with improved language skills, workers can perform their tasks quickly and accurately.

Cultivating the Passion for Learning

Teacher Nguyen Thuy Quynh understands the fatigue faced by the workers after a long day. Therefore, she patiently guides learners in pronunciation and correct language usage.

To make the language courses practical and engaging, Quynh compiles vocabulary related to the workers’ daily tasks and working environment. This includes job levels, company divisions, and professional manufacturing fields.

With dedication, learners can read international phonetic transcriptions and learn new words after just five to ten classes.

Older learners who face pronunciation challenges receive assistance through recorded videos demonstrating correct pronunciation and small homework assignments.

Quynh advises her learners to spend some free time each day practicing the language using language-learning apps and immersing themselves in the language environment through social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

“At first, learners could only say hello, thank you, or ask about the teacher’s health in Chinese. However, after half a month, many can introduce themselves, stating where they live and their hobbies,” shared the teacher.

Cao Dao Duy, a manager at Korea Electric Terminal Company, highlighted the company’s expectation for all staff, including managers and workers, to communicate in Korean since it is financed by Korean capital. This expectation ensures smooth operations within the company.

In response, the labor union and employees proposed the opening of a foreign language class within the company premises to help workers overcome time constraints. Having the class within the factory is extremely helpful and convenient for the workers, who can attend classes immediately after finishing their work without the need to travel elsewhere.

Knowing the required foreign language allows workers to receive guidance directly from company leaders without waiting for translations.

“Despite the high volume of orders at the end of the year, the company’s leaders actively manage schedules so that workers still have time for learning after work,” shared Duy. He added that this is a long-term investment to improve production efficiency.

Enterprise Support for Learning

Under the guidance of the Secretary of the Thai Nguyen Provincial Party Committee, the Education and Training Department of Thai Nguyen Province, in collaboration with workers and industrial park management, launched three classes teaching Chinese and Korean at the Diem Thuy Industrial Park in Phu Binh District.

Enterprises with foreign owners or experts actively support workers’ language learning by arranging work schedules to allow time for learning.

This strategic approach is expected to enhance productivity and efficiency in the long run.

However, maintaining these classes presents challenges due to the intricate arrangements required for the work, travel, and living situations of the learners. Some learners live far from the factory, making it difficult for them to return home late at night only to go back to the company early the next day.

The pilot classes will be reviewed after a certain period of implementation before potential expansion to other areas.