09/06/2021, 13.05
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Distance learning impossible for 75,000 Ho Chi Minh City students

by Peter Tran

Distance learning is a growing source of concern for Vietnamese families facing connectivity problems and economic difficulties. At the start of the new school year, parents ask for help from relatives and government. The head of the Department of Education urges teachers not to forget pupils with difficulties.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 13,000 new cases and 281 deaths reported yesterday.

One of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has been closing down schools, a necessary step but one that has made life difficult for Vietnamese children and teenagers.

In Ho Chi Minh City alone, more than 1.71 million students are enrolled in 2,392 schools. The local Department of Education and Training has gradually organised the new school year which, under current conditions, will take place entirely via distance learning, starting today for middle and high school pupils, and 20 September for elementary school children.

Parents are worried however about this form of learning which is not only preventing human contact among children and teenagers, but is forcing families to take on unexpected expenses to enable their children to follow e-learning classes.

“To allow my children to study and interact with their peers, I was forced to buy new devices such as computers, headphones and microphones, as well as improve our internet connection,” said Mr Hung, a resident of Tân Phú, a district in Ho Chi Minh City.

For Ms Anh Nhun, the extra costs are a burden. “Last school year, I had to buy a computer for my little girl so that she could follow the lessons. This year my youngest son also started school. and, having no other money, I had to borrow a computer from a relative.”

Despite the efforts of the Department of Education and Training, many students are still excluded from this form of education. According to the latest data, about 75,000 youth and children who are unable to take part in distance learning in Ho Chi Minh City.

This is a difficult challenge for Ms Hong, head of the Education and Training Department in District 7.

“We are aware of the difficulties of the moment,” she said. “I appealed to all school staff so that teachers keep an eye on those who live in tough circumstances and continue to have difficulties in following the lessons.”

A lot of work has fallen on the shoulders of school administrators, who are committed to finding solutions suited to the situation.

“Our school will provide online teaching with flexible formats,” ​​said Mr Nguyen, principal of the Me Linh Primary School, District Six, Ho Chi Minh City.

“Primary school teachers will create special videos to guide pupils and parents in online learning. I recommended structuring the video lessons with light content and in a flowing form so that pupils can easily follow them.”

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