Vietnam schools set to reopen in June after four-month break

By Viet Tuan, Manh Tung   April 11, 2020 | 07:30 pm GMT+7
Vietnam schools set to reopen in June after four-month break
Students gather in the yard of a primary school in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Students can return to school by June 15 at the latest if the Covid-19 epidemic remains under control, the Ministry of Education and Training said Friday.

Nguyen Huu Do, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said at a Friday meeting that teachers will help students review lessons after they have studied online at home during the coronavirus-induced closures and complete the second semester and final examinations from June 15 to July 15. Vietnam's school year starts in August or September with two semesters and a normal semester lasts four months.

"Grade 12 students will have three weeks to review their lessons before the national high school examination which will take place from August 8-11," Do said. The graduation exam has been pushed back two months from previous years with schools remaining closed for a long time.

Vietnam’s national high school graduation exam is considered to be a make-or-break event for the students, determining if they can enter a good university or not.

If schools remain closed even on June 15, the ministry will report the situation to the National Assembly to reconsider rescheduling the national high school examination.

"Students can be assured that their interests will be protected, we aim to reduce the amount of academic workload as much as possible to help them acquire the same level of knowledge; even if there is a difference, it won’t be big," Do said.

He also said the ministry has devised many measures to help students study online and via televised lessons. It has also held conferences with teachers in localities to guide them on online teaching.

"Students are absent from schools but the academic program is still being run. Teachers are teaching and students are learning," Do said.

In mountainous areas like the northern province of Ha Giang, students do not have the opportunity to study online so teachers teach them in small groups so that their learning is not interrupted, he said.

Students can bridge the knowledge gap caused by the long school break in the first or two weeks of the next school year, Do said.

22 million students in Vietnam had completed the 20th week of school in the new academic year before they began a fortnight-long Lunar New Year holiday that started January 17. They have not gone back to school since with the break being extended multiple times on safety considerations.

40 provinces and cities have extended school breaks until further notice, while schools in the remaining 23 localities have said school closures will last until mid-April.

Sooner in HCMC

HCMC authorities said Friday that the city’s 1.7 million students can return to school mid-May, a month earlier than proposed by the education ministry for the entire country. The city is also considering the resumption of manufacturing activities around the same time to reverse the economic downturn, they said.

The rationale offered for the early reopening was that the city was handling the Covid-19 spread well and has only used 3.5 percent of its total number of hospital beds.

"HCMC is ready to move to a new phase - socioeconomic development when the disease is under control; there might be new cases but there won't be outbreak points and community transmissions," said HCMC Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan.

HCMC has recorded 54 Covid-19 cases. Of these, 37 have been discharged from hospitals. The city has gone through seven days without any new infections. It had previously put 10,000 people in centralized quarantine facilities, and this number has reduced to 500.

As of Saturday, Vietnam’s had recorded 258 Covid-19 cases, 114 of them active and the rest discharged. Of the active cases, 12 have tested negative twice and 13 once.

 
 
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