Education sector to focus on student's learning and mental health

April 19, 2022 - 08:41
Nguyễn Thanh Đề, Director of the Department of Physical Education (Ministry of Education and Training) talks to Vietnam News Agency about how schools have been supporting students as they return to in-person classes to ensure the quality of education. 


Students of 12th grade in Trần Nhân Tông Highschool in Hà Nội study for the highschool graduation exam. VNA/VNS Photo

Nguyễn Thanh Đề, Director of the Department of Physical Education (Ministry of Education and Training - MoET) talks to Vietnam News Agency about how schools have been supporting students as they return to in-person classes to ensure the quality of education. 

It’s been two months since schools nationwide started reopening. What are the difficulties and challenges that schools are facing?

Following the direction of the Prime Minister, the MoET has coordinated with the Ministry of Health, People's Committees of provinces and cities for students to return to school. On January 19, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Training chaired and coordinated with the Ministry of Health to organise the second National Online Conference on educational activities to ensure safety at educational institutions.

As of April 12, 2022, 63 provinces and cities have allowed students to return to school directly or have detailed plans to welcome students back to school (Hà Nội allows preschool students to go to school from April 13). Only a few localities have had to switch from face-to-face learning to online due to the complicated pandemic situation.

Vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 years old has reached a high rate, this is also the result of the efforts of the education and health sectors.

When students just came back to school, some educational institutions are still confused when handling cases of F0 and F1 (discovered at home or at school). The zoning method to determine F1 was not proper, leading to many students having to drop out of class and switch to online learning because there were F0s in the classes. In particular, there are cases where a whole class or a whole block have to stop going to school when detecting F0s in a class. 

Some localities require students to be tested for COVID-19 before going to school in person, which was an unnecessary waste of money. Medical experts, the MoET, and the Ministry of Health only recommend testing for cases with suspected symptoms and epidemiological factors, not 100 per cent of students. Especially, it is not necessary to test with preschool children.

There is still a proportion of students, preschool children, and staff and teachers infected with COVID-19, causing certain obstacles when organising face-to-face teaching because they have to switch from teaching directly to online after a short time or organising in-class and online teaching at the same time.

The fact that children aged 5 to 12 who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 is also a concern for schools and parents when coming back to school.

Students in many provinces and cities have just returned to school after many months of online learning at home, which affects the psychology of students as well as the quality of teaching and learning. Does the MoET have any solutions to guide schools to care for the student while still ensuring quality?

The MoET has proactively and promptly directed the whole sector to effectively implement education tasks while also adapting to the pandemic’s developments. 

The MoET has coordinated with the Ministry of Health to continue updating and supplementing guidelines/regulations/handbooks on pandemic prevention and control in educational institutions; strengthen school health system to meet the requirements of pandemic prevention and control and complete the goal of vaccination for children aged 12-17.

At the same time, we are deploying a campaign to vaccinate children aged five to 12 years old in schools. The two ministries have been training to improve pandemic prevention and control skills to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

In particular, the MoET noted that schools focus on counselling and psychological support for students; enhance interaction and cohesion among students, especially pay attention to those in grade 1 who have never been to school before.

The ministry has requested schools to continue to organise the teaching of basic and core contents according to the guiding documents on adjusting teaching content of the ministry, without putting pressure or overloading on students. 

In addition, schools will review, consolidate and supplement knowledge with suitable content for groups of students who have difficulties in online learning.

The MoET also continues to coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Communications to deploy coverage of Internet for online learning for all areas.

It’s only less than two months left until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. What is the optimal plan for the MoET to minimise the change in online and offline learning, without causing much disturbance for students?

The MoET has directed the departments of education and training to guide schools to take measures to enhance the quality of teaching and learning when students return to school. In which, schools will proactively review and evaluate online and television learning results of student groups to adjust the school's educational plan.

We have directed localities to give priority to 12th grade students and asked educational institutions to develop plans to complete the 20-2022 school year before June 30, 2022. 

For localities that cannot complete before June 30, 2022, they should report to the ministry for specific instructions, ensuring compliance with the plan to organise the High School Graduation Exam.

Educational institutions should give priority to arranging for senior teachers to have support solutions for students who are COVID-19 patients so that they will be able to keep up with the programme. VNS