Universities urged to develop plans to adapt to another COVID-19 outbreak

July, 12/2020 - 15:05
Universities in Việt Nam should start preparing different scenarios to adapt if the country experiences new COVID-19 incidences in the community, said Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Điện, rector of Hoa Sen University.


A conference of rectors of member universities of Agence Universitaire de La Francophonie in the Asia Pacific region (CONFRASIE) was held on Friday at Hoa Sen University to listen to challenges and suggestions from AUF-member universities. — VNS Photo Gia Lộc

HCM CITY — Universities in Việt Nam should start preparing different scenarios to adapt if the country experiences new COVID-19 incidences in the community, said Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Điện, rector of Hoa Sen University.

Điện spoke at the conference of rectors of member universities of Agence Universitaire de La Francophonie in the Asia Pacific region (CONFRASIE) held on Friday at Hoa Sen University.

The Agence Universitaire de La Francophonie (AUF) is a society of universities offering training in the French language.

Though Việt Nam has controlled the spread of COVID-19, Điện said that universities should identify opportunities and challenges at this time in case another outbreak occurs.

AUF should have programmes to help its member universities resolve these challenges, he said.

Nguyễn Văn Nam, vice rector of Tây Nguyên University, said: “The current pandemic is forcing universities to develop different scenarios for training programmes, defining the percentage of time for teaching theory via online and the percentage for practice after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.”

Universities should also create software for teaching online, Nam said, adding that for practical lessons, universities need assistance from organisations to have virtual laboratories at which students can practice.     

When teaching online, instructors can take two weeks to compile their lectures and they need software to help them do so, he said.

“Other software for university governance is also needed to resolve the health crisis in the present time and the upcoming time,” he added.   

A representative of HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy suggested that AUF could give advice to member universities on how to assess students and the quality of online teaching.

Điện said that besides taking initiatives in resolving challenges caused by the pandemic, Vietnamese universities should modernise their facilities, improve the capacity of lecturers, and implement modern governance.

Dr Nguyễn Thị Minh Hồng, rector of University of Education, noted that 35 per cent of the instructors at her university have a PhD degree, but the percentage is still lower than universities in other countries.

Dr Nguyễn Tất Toàn, vice rector of Nông Lâm University, said the brain drain at public universities is a problem.   

Nam of Tây Nguyên University said: “Training according to society’s demands and training human resources to serve the country is a problem that universities in agriculture and forestry face because majors in agriculture are not attractive to high school students.”

The conference is part of AUF’s global counselling programme in the French-language academic community, according to Điện.

AUF said it was developing new strategies based on suggestions from its member universities. — VNS