Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training said on Friday that Students can return to school by June 15 at the latest if the Covid-19 epidemic remains under control.
Nguyen Huu Do, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, said at a meeting with government education and health officials 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.
Nguyen said, "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.” Because of the long period of school closures, this years graduation exam has been pushed back two months from previous years. As in many Asian countries, Vietnam’s national high school graduation exam is a very serious event that determines whether students can enter a top-tier university.
If the Covid-19 shutdown continues and schools remain closed even on June 15, the ministry will report the situation to the National Assembly to reconsider a further rescheduling of the national high school examination.
Nguyen added that, "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."
Nguyen and other officials of the ministry note that it has devised many measures to help students study online and via televised lessons. Throughout the period of school closures the ministry has also held conferences with teachers across the country to educate and guide them on online teaching.
According to the government, approximately 22 million students in Vietnam had completed the 20th week of school in the new academic year before they began the Tet Lunar New Year holiday that started January 17. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, students have not returned to school since that time.
Across Vietnam, 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.
Ho Chi Minh City plans to reopen schools earlier
HCMC authorities said last Friday that they are currently planning 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 rationale for the earlier school openings and possible reopening of the city by HCMC officials is that the city was handling the Covid-19 spread well and has only used 3.5% of its total number of hospital beds.
Nguyen Thien Nhan, HCMC Party Chairman said last week that, "HCMC is ready to move to a new phase - socioeconomic development when the disease is under control; although there might be new cases, the city doesn’t expect any additional outbreak points or community transmissions.”
HCMC has recorded 54 Covid-19 cases. The patients from 37 of these cases have been discharged from hospitals. At its peak, the city put 10,000 people in centralized quarantine facilities, but as more people test negative, this number has reduced to 500.
As of Sunday, HCMC has gone through seven days without any new infections and the city’s health officials have said that they are confident that the city can emerge from its shut down in a safe manner but that they intend to remain vigilant for any new cases that might crop up after the city is opened.