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Challenges for education sector while coping with COVID-19

15:55 | 25/04/2020

Due to COVID-19, the education sector of Vietnam is facing many challenges. Teachers and students found difficult to maintain online teaching while classroom shortage leads to problems for social distancing at school environments. 

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challenges for education sector while coping with covid 19
A student in an online classroom (Photo: Thanh nien)

Zoom and Microsoft Office 365 are the two most common apps used in teaching online. Experts have warned that users’ information may be stolen when using Zoom because of security vulnerabilities. Bad actors may try to access online classes and spoil teaching hours.

Microsoft Office 365 requires many registration steps. Since students have many subjects and follow timetables, they have to register many accounts, which makes it inconvenient to join classes.

Vo Thien Cang, headmaster of Tran Huu Trang High School in district 5, HCM City, the majority of students have mobile phones and computers to attend online classes, but it is impossible to attract 100 percent of students to the classes.

“Students complain that they cannot remember the accounts for every subject. In general, the efficiency of online learning is just equal to 50 percent of normal classes,” Cang said.

Hoang Son Hai, headmaster of Nguyen Chi Thanh High School in Tan Binh district, said that online classes cannot replace traditional classes because of the lower volume of knowledge transferred to students and teacher-student interaction.

Meanwhile, some teaching apps set restrictions for the number of students in each class and the time for organizing classes, reported by Vietnamnet.

challenges for education sector while coping with covid 19
A student taking an online lesson (Photo: VOV)

A high school teacher in Hanoi said that he has two math teaching hours, but has to log out after the first 40 minutes and then log in again.

He complained that there is no regulation about how to give grades and assess students’ capability, and each school follows its own way.

If the Ministry of Education and Training doesn’t hold high school finals, universities will have to enroll students based on students’ learning records at high schools.

Online teaching also has problems such as the long time it takes to check attendance and connection, losing connection while studying, teacher cannot hear students very well during the lessons...

The Ministry of Education and Training has sent a dispatch to guide the safety of students when returning to school. Specifically, it is proposed that when students return to the school, educational institutions shall arrange each student at least 1.5m away from each other. These are requirements to ensure prevention and control of diseases, such as wearing masks, disinfecting regularly during learning.

Students in ninth and 12th grades in several provinces such as Hai Duong, Gia Lai and Yen Bai provinces have already returned to school to prepare for their coming exams after a long break at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak. They had their temperature checked and arranged to sit two metres away from each other, following the instruction by Ministry of Education and Training.

challenges for education sector while coping with covid 19
Checking students' temperature at school (Photo: Vietnamnet)

However, Mr. Pham Ngoc Anh - Head of Education and Training Department of Cau Giay District, Hanoi said that ths requirement by the Ministry of Education and Training is a very difficult regulation and lacks feasibility. According to Mr. Pham Ngoc Anh, only about half the number of students can sit in the classes if complied with the regulation. Thus, you will have to split the class into 2 to 3 different classes.

“Separating classes means increasing the number of teachers, and the number of teachers of each school is not enough to stand the class. Therefore, I think this is an unfeasible plan, requiring further study and guidance ”- he shared with Kinh te do thi.

Over 280,000 students in Thanh Hoa Province returned to school on April 23. Similar to Mr. Ngoc Anh's opinion, many schools said they have to divide the number of students in each class in half to realise the social distancing requirement but they don't have enough classroom for everyone.

Nguyen Thi Huong, a teacher at Ngo Quyen Secondary School, said they had to divide the number of student in each class in half. Each half will take turns to go to school and the other half will study online at home.

"This is a temporary solution. We are really worried when more students in grade 6, 7 and 8 return. We don't have enough room for everyone and teachers will have to work twice as hard," she said.

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