Passing entrance exams for colleges and universities is one of the biggest hurdles - and achievements - in the life of a student in Viet Nam. Families and friends usually gather afterwards to throw a party for the successful candidates.
But students at Nguyen Minh Quang High School in southern province of Hau Giang received letters of acceptance from Nam Can Tho University (NCTU) even before they received their results from the national high school exam.
Of course, acceptance by the university was great news, but those charged with getting all the food and liquor ready felt the celebrations would be better if they had the results of the entrance-exam. Without them, they felt they were on unsure ground. What if the students had failed?
The university's stand was that it was permitted by the Ministry of Education to accept students based on their high-school transcripts. However, it seems there is another regulation that only students who pass the national high school exam can progress to the higher level.
But again, according to a senior member in charge of the Nam Can Tho University, students who receive acceptance letters may register and pay tuition fees at the university without having to present national high school exam results or a high-school diploma.
Indeed, it is possible that students who do not pass the high-school exam have already accepted the university's offer. However, this would be a violation of the ministry's admission rules.
It's a game of wait and see.
Xe om drivers to the rescue
Motorbike taxi (xe om) drivers on the capital city's Phap Van-Cau Gie Highway have an interesting side job almost as profitable as ferrying people around on their back seats.
The highway was banned to motorbikes in 2012, however, it seems that not all riders heard this as many continued to travel along it. When police set up checkpoints along the highway to catch them, bikers had a choice of being caught or turning back against the one-way traffic, which is highly dangerous. Many paid the traffic police, often waiting in readiness to catch them.
This is when the xe om drivers scented an opportunity. For a fee, as small as VND25,000 (US$1.15), they hoist a bike weighing more than 100kg over the highway's safety rails so that bikers can safely reach a normal road.
Bikers who take the highway by mistake are happy with the service. The fine they would have to pay if stopped by the police is many times what the enterprising xe om drivers ask for.
It not only happens in America
Two medical workers from a clinic in Quang Trach District in central Quang Binh Province decided to sue their potential employer, the Bac Quang Binh General Hospital, for recruiting midwives in a test not based on their knowledge of maternal health or medical skills but on their ability to play volleyball.
They said they applied for the jobs posted by the hospital. Both were thrilled when they were contacted for an interview. However, they found the experience bizarre as the interviewers, instead of asking them about their work experience and medical knowledge were more interested in their familiarity and sporting skills, particularly just how well they could serve a volleyball. One of the questions was to estimate the length and width of a volleyball court.
Unprepared for such non-professional questions for a medical job, they failed the interviews despite their excellent work records and impressive results at medical tests.
Believe it or not, according to the hospital director, Le Van Te, everything was done in accordance with regulations governing recruiting procedures.
"We are trying to build a volleyball team for the hospital when we go to competitions. Naturally, candidates with strong volleyball skills receive priority in hiring," he said.
Te added that many good volleyball players from the hospital's team had retired, leaving the volleyball team in a poor position. This was why it had not won a major title for years.
Are you a skilled volleyball player in need of work? Apply now to help deliver babies at the Bac Quang Binh General Hospital. — VNS