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Practical classes hampered by COVID-19

Update: June, 23/2021 - 09:18

 

A cooking lesson at the Chu Văn An High School in HCM City’s District 5 before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began. Vocational schools and colleges are struggling to teach practical skills since students are learning online. — Photo sggp.org.vn

HCM CITY — HCM City schools and universities are struggling to teach practical lessons amidst the COVID-19 shutdown since students lack access to equipment and oversight.

While some teachers and students have gotten used to online teaching, others are still struggling, and some lessons just cannot be taught online. 

The city has instructed school and university students to stay at home since May 10, though vocational schools could still visit their school for practical lessons that cannot be taught online as long as they follow pandemic prevention measures.

But since May 31, when the city began its social distancing mandate under Directive No. 15, they have been stopped.

Trần Nguyên Bảo Trân, head of the Lý Tự Trọng College of HCM City’s mechatronics and automation faculty, said his college struggled with practical lessons since students then do not get to operate large machinery that is key to their curriculum.

As for electronics classes, some students can buy components for practising when they learn at home, but many cannot afford them, and so practical lessons are much less effective, according to Trân.

Such parts usually have to be imported, and the pandemic has caused a shortage, leading to higher prices.

Vocational schools where 70 per cent of classes involve practical lessons struggle even harder.

The Lê Thị Riêng Technical School in Thủ Đức City teaches vocations such as cooking and food processing and beauty care, and they are extremely difficult to be taught if students are not hands-on, according to Nguyễn Thị Hoàng Ánh, its deputy principal.

For instance, cooking classes require utensils that not everybody has, while make-up classes require students to practise on various facial structures, and teachers generally find it difficult to spot and help students correct mistakes online.

The principal of Saigon Polytechnic College School in Gò Vấp District, Hoàng Văn Phúc, said it had suspended practical classes.

The college is considering having students train at businesses if it could ensure both they and employees are in areas safe from the pandemic.

Other schools are coming up with solutions to help students not miss out on practical training.

For instance, Lý Tự Trọng College is looking at using simulation software to teach lessons on programming and circuit designing until students are able to return to class.

Other colleges are using highly interactive virtual simulation of vehicles, the human body or machinery in their online classes.

Many schools and colleges have also been making videos for their lessons.

More and more vocational schools are developing online education programmes and investing in virtual technologies for practical lessons, according to the city Department of Labour, War invalids and Social affairs. — VNS

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