VN schools ready for opening ceremony, new academic year
More than 50 provinces and cities nationwide have announced schedules for the new school year and prepared scenarios to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tan Thanh Primary-Secondary School in Long An Province is ready for the upcoming academic year.
The HCM City Department of Education and Training has submitted a plan with two scenarios to the People’s Committee for the opening ceremony for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year.
Each primary, secondary and high school in the city has 1,000-4,000 students, so social distancing cannot be carried out, if required. A full opening ceremony in which everyone attends would be impractical.
Instead, an alternative plan calls for 10 to 20 students to act as representatives for each classroom. But all first, sixth and 10th graders would attend the ceremony under this scenario.
The ceremony would last nearly 60 minutes. As scheduled, it will be organised on September 5. The new school year will start on September 7 and end in late May.
Ha Ngoc Tuan Huy, rector of Lac Long Quan Secondary School in Binh Tan District, told Việt Nam News Agency that the school would ensure facilities and safety for students.
Besides disinfecting facilities, the school has prepared devices to check body temperature of its students. All students must wash their hands before entering classrooms. Table surfaces and door handles will be cleaned regularly.
If the city decides to impose social distancing, each classroom will have only about 20 students.
The north central province of Nghe An’s Department of Education and Training said that because the province has not recorded any COVID-19 incidence, the opening ceremony will still be organised on September 5, with 800,000 students.
The department will instruct educational divisions and schools to ensure safety for students. When they attend the ceremony, they will have to wear masks, wash their hands, and fill out health declarations.
If any student has symptoms such as cough and fever, their health will be checked.
In the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, students will also attend the opening ceremony on September 5. Those at continuing education centres will organise the ceremony on September 7.
The Department of Education and Training in southern Dong Nai will carry out online teaching and extend the school year to complete the training programme if COVID-19 complications continue.
Tran Hung Dao Secondary School in the province, for instance, plans to teach its students more skills online if it is necessary to carry out social distancing.
In the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, the opening ceremony will be held on September 5, but it is waiting for the last instruction from the Ministry of Education and Training.
The department will co-operate with the health sector to disinfect schools before the ceremony.
Other provinces such as Binh Thuan and Quang Tri plan to organise an online opening ceremony if there is another COVID-19 outbreak.
Da Nang and Quang Nam do not plan to organise an opening ceremony, and the new school year could begin later because these areas are the epicentre for COVID-19 now.
The Ministry of Education and Training has instructed educational departments in provinces and cities to strictly comply with regulations about the opening ceremony to ensure COVID-19 prevention and control.
For provinces and cities carrying out social distancing, schools will hold an online opening ceremony.
Schools should also organise activities related to teaching and learning in the beginning of the new school year to ensure COVID-19 prevention and control.
The ministry has required provinces and cities to review the number of schools, teaching equipment and teachers, especially those for the first grade, for the new school year.
Textbooks should be provided for all students, the ministry said.
To prepare for the upcoming school year, HCM City will put 1,371 new classrooms into use.
The Mekong Delta province of Long An has built more new schools and supplemented teaching devices and equipment for the 2020-2021 school year. The province has allocated total capital of VND64.9 billion (US$2.8 million) to build 13 schools.
In the province’s Ben Luc District, Luong Binh and Thuan Dao primary schools will be put into use in the upcoming school year. Ben Luc Town Primary School and the Ben Luc Town Secondary School are under construction. The Ben Luc Town Primary School is expected to open next year and the others in the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year.
Schools in Dong Nai Province are ready for the new academic year. The Department of Education and Training has completed training courses for teachers at 300 primary schools.
The People’s Committee in the province’s Vinh Cuu District has allocated more than VND10 billion (US$431,230) to buy equipment to teach first graders under the new training programme.
Binh Duong Province’s Thu Dau Mot City has upgraded 11 schools. Thuan An City has allocated VND10 billion to repair schools, which is expected to be completed by August 30. Thuan An City has four new schools, including Hoa Cuc 10 Kindergarten, An Thanh Primary School, Thuan Giao Secondary School and Trinh Hoai Duc High School.
Since the end of last year, Bau Bang rural district has repaired 16 schools, which are slated to open for the 2020-2021 academic year.
HCM City seeks ways to help students with financial difficulties
Nguyen Thi Thu Tuyet has spent VND600,000 (US$26) for new textbooks and learning tools for the new school curriculum this year, nearly triple the amount compared to other textbooks.
A parent and child choose new textbooks for the new school term in HCM City.
Tuyet said that to prepare for her first-grade child in HCM City, she had to pay more than VND1 million to buy three sets of school uniforms and one physical education uniform that cost nearly VND600,000.
Similarly, Huynh Tan Minh in Go Vap District had to spend VND1.5 to 2 million ($65-87) to prepare for his first-grade child.
The Government will not subsidise the new textbooks, so the parents have to buy the new textbooks for their children, he added.
Nguyen Thanh Trung, chief of the secretariat at the city’s Department of Education and Training, said that all five sets of textbooks, approved by the education ministry, will be about VND300,000 (US$12.9) each, nearly double compared to last year's textbooks.
The city will spend a part of its budget to buy sets of textbooks for students with financial difficulties if they cannot afford to buy them, Hieu said.
In Tan Phu District, which is one of the localities having the largest number of low-income migrant workers in the city, a principal of a school in the district said the school will seek donations to buy textbooks for students with financial difficulties.
Of the five sets, the Chân Trời Sáng Tạo textbooks were chosen by 80 per cent of the city’s schools.
Nearly 1 million copies of the textbooks have been printed, accounting for 81 per cent of the total textbook copies issued in the city, according to Vietnam Education Publishing House Co.Ltd.
Because the textbooks were written by many authors from the southern region, words and phrases as well as data are familiar to students.
“Many primary teachers in the city also took part in compiling them,” Hieu said.
He said the city’s teachers are using new teaching and testing methodologies that will be compatible with the textbooks.
To meet the demands of the new training programme, Hieu said that having enough classrooms for first graders is a challenge because schools face a shortage of classrooms. The city’s land fund for building more schools is limited.
The new training programme will require first-graders to study throughout the day. In the morning shift, students will study Vietnamese, maths, and other subjects. In the afternoon shift, they will receive instruction through various activities.
First-graders will study six days per week instead of five days if they study all day.
The city has instructed educational sup-departments and schools to review their facilities and teaching aids and devices, Hieu said.
The city has 551 primary schools, including 484 public schools, an increase of four compared to the previous academic year.
There are 3,550 classrooms for the first grade for the 2020-21 school year, with a shortage of 443, according to the department.
Hieu has instructed schools to use classrooms, halls and schoolyards to organise activities to teach skills to first graders if they lack classrooms. VNS
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