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All students in Ho Chi Minh City to access AI teaching soon



Ho Chi Minh City is planning to offer courses in artificial intelligence (AI) at all secondary and high schools, starting from the 2022-23 academic year.

Nguyen Bao Quoc, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh Department of Education and Training, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that to implement the city’s ‘Smart Education and Lifelong Learning in Ho Chi Minh City’ project in the 2021-30 period, the education authorities are building and perfecting a system to manage education, teach knowledge and skills, and check smart evaluation.

Teaching AI at high schools is part of the important project, he added.

Over the past three years, several city schools have been teaching AI to students, but the scale remains small and limited.

In the 2022-23 academic year, Ho Chi Minh City will pilot putting an AI teaching program on the syllabus at secondary and high schools. 

Accordingly, the city will pick five high schools to apply the AI teaching pilot program, while each district will select a secondary school for it.

Students will study AI through informatics and a series of clubs, extracurricular activities and contests for science, legos and robotics.

Apart from the selected schools for the pilot project, other schools can teach AI via voluntary on-demand programs.

The municipal department has told Saigon University to make a study on building an AI teaching program for students.

Based on the result of the program, the department will extend the pilot program and gradually reach students at all secondary and high schools in the city.

To ensure the AI teaching project can run well, the education sector is stepping up preparation for personnel and facilities.

Particularly, the Department of Education and Training has been running AI training courses for IT teachers at high schools, while most city schools are equipped with computer rooms.

In the coming months, the department will also add some functional rooms such as labs to these schools, while such schools should proactively build smart rooms and multi-functional classrooms; buy essential equipment, robots, and automated devices; launch study programs; and offer AI playgrounds to make the teaching go smoothly, said a representative of the department.

Cao Duc Khoa, principal of Huynh Khuong Ninh Secondary School in District 1, said that the students were really interested in studying AI.

“Our school has taught AI through the Robotic and Automation club over the past three years,” Khoa said.

“The AI teaching program not only gives students opportunities to experience and foster creation and passion, but also trains them in multiple useful skills, including teamwork, cooperation and sharing.

“As such, the students are excited about the program.”

Huynh Khuong Ninh’s AI club attracts students in grades 6-9 thanks to the advanced two-lesson-per-week AI program with modern equipment.

“One of the difficulties facing schools teaching AI is a dearth of IT teachers and teaching equipment which is extremely costly,” Khoa said.

To teach AI, teachers of IT and physics must be trained professionally. 

Due to its modern and integrated operating model, the Huynh Khuong Ninh school has an advantage over other schools in access to AI teachers and equipment, said Khoa.

Also, AI teaching programs at city schools have received support from parents, according to Nguyen Thai Vinh Nguyen, head of the Thu Duc City Bureau of Education and Training.

The education agencies in Thu Duc City will team up with the AI Center-Software Technology Park in Vietnam National University-Ho chi Minh City to start teaching AI to elementary and secondary students in the 2022-23 school year.

The division has offered leaders of schools some survey trips to the AI center to learn more about the teaching program. Besides, some schools have taken their students to the center to explore robot programming.

“The municipal Department of Education and Training issued a dispatch allowing Thu Duc City to roll out an AI teaching program based on clubs or syllabuses. To do so, schools must be encouraged and supported by parents,” Nguyen stated.

Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted has taught AI to students in specialized classes since the first semester of the 2019-20 school year, said principal Pham Thi Be Hien.

The program equips students with such skills as mathematical modeling, high-level programming and creation, and provides them with mathematics for AI.

All 10th graders are focusing on a basic AI program, while students in grades 11 and 12 are pursuing a professional AI program associated with math for AI, AI programming, and AI application to science studies.

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Vietnam minister proposes making middle school free next year



Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son has proposed that education fees be waived for all public middle schools across the country.

The education minister put forward the proposal during an online conference with central- and local-level leaders on Monday morning.

Son expects that his proposal will benefit students from grade sixth to ninth starting the 2022-23 school year, which is set to begin in less than two months.

He requested the education ministry’s sub-units to work with the Ministry of Finance on evaluating the impacts of the proposed tuition exemption and calculating the state budget needed for this plan. 

Such tuition exemption is not a new proposition of the Ministry of Education and Training. 

In 2016, the government assigned the ministry to coordinate with the finance ministry in drawing up a similar scheme with a specific timeline while prioritizing investments for kindergarten and elementary education.

Vietnam has made elementary school compulsory and tuition-free for all children aged six to 11.

Hai Phong City is the first locality in the country to have provided free education for children from kindergarten to middle school levels from the 2020-21 school year and those in high school starting the 2021-22 school year.

At Monday’s meeting, Son also reported on the education ministry’s preparations for the national high school graduation examination, to be organized for 12th graders and independent candidates on July 7 and 8.

Considered as one of the most important events in the life of every school student, the exam results are used for both high school graduation and enrollment in universities and junior colleges.

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A summer of fun and learning for Ho Chi Minh City children



Children from across Ho Chi Minh City have spent their first few weeks of summer visiting the children’s section of the General Sciences Library, located in downtown District 1, to read in a comfortable environment and participate in a variety of clubs and activities.

Nguyen Ngoc Lan, a fifth grader from District 3, has spent nearly the entire week at the library eagerly reading books and participating in the dozens of activities hosted by staff and guests there, including storytelling sessions and advice on choosing new books to read.

New books, new activities

Lan did not have much love for reading when her mother first brought her to the library, but the time the young girl has spent making new friends and enjoying the library’s activities has turned her into a true bookworm with a particular interest in outer space and comics.

Fourth grader Viet Quan and his sister, first grader Huong Thanh, have also been spending their mornings at the library.

The siblings are particularly fond of the art activities and English lessons there.

The library does not just offer opportunities to learn from books, but also chances to learn from peers.

Tran Minh Hang, a sixth grader, found this out when she met an American international school student at the library.

The two shared information about their countries and Hang was happy to show her new friend pictures of the different fruits and scenery in his hometown, Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region.

The woman making sure there are plenty of activities to keep the children at the library busy is Lam Thi Ngoc Thu.

The library’s summer programs began on June 13 and run every day from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, except Fridays, Thu said.

Each day offers a different theme: Mondays are for storytelling, Tuesdays for science, Wednesdays for arts and crafts, and Thursdays for life skills.

Saturdays and Sundays typically feature cultural lessons, movie showings, and even chess tournaments.

Homemaking skill classes for everyone

After a two-year pause due to COVID-19, the Children’s House of Ho Chi Minh City, situated in District 3, has re-launched its soft skill classes.

This year, the classes are being held for over 200 children from June 27 to July 29.

They are meant for seven- to 12-year-olds and cover all sorts of activities, from basketball to dancing.

Right now, 80 children are participating in the house’s first summer session, which features outdoor games and camping trips.

Other activities focus on how to show love to family members and self-care, including lessons on how to be independent by doing various chores around the house.

Pham Thi Ngoc Yen, vice-director of the Children’s House of District 7, shared that these classes have been offered at her venue for the last five summers, except during the pandemic

The programs have been a big hit amongst parents due to their low-cost and variety of activities.

The house’s second summer session will begin on July 4 and last until July 15.

So far, 80 students have signed up and there is still space for 40 more.

Thanks to the success of its past events, the Children’s House of District 7 has been able to share its experience with other organizations across the city.

The Children’s House of District 4, for example, will launch a semi-boarding summer program for the first time this year from July 18 to 29 for children seven to 13 years old.

According to Ngoc Nga, the mother of eight-year-old Minh Khang, finding programs that offer full care for children is important because many parents are busy with their work and their children cannot stay home alone during the day while schools are closed for summer.

Since May, Nga registered Khang for both summer sessions at the Children’s House of District 7, hoping her child will enjoy himself and be well-cared for.

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Teachers go six months without paychecks in north-central Vietnam



A group of elementary school teachers in Vietnam are going on their sixth month straight of no paychecks even though the academic year has already concluded.

The eight affected teachers were employed as contract workers during the 2021-22 school year, which ended last month, at Dong Linh Elementary School in north-central Thanh Hoa Province.

They completed the assignments given by the school administration and their duties as per the conditions of their contracts, which specified that they would receive a monthly wage of VND2.78 million (US$120) each, as well as payment for teaching extra classes and monitoring semi-boarding students.

The school fully paid the eight teachers from September to December last year, according to a contract teacher.

“However, we’ve been paid nothing since January of this year,” one of the eight teachers said.

“The school’s explanation was that they didn’t have it in their budget.”

In response to a request by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper regarding the issue on Wednesday, Le Thanh Dong, a senior education official, admitted that the school had not yet paid the eight teachers and pledged to settle their salaries in the coming days.

More than 200 teachers were hired as contract employees in the 2021-22 school year across Thanh Hoa City, which is the provincial capital, according to Dong.

Most of them were fully paid with funds from the city and local school budgets, the education official affirmed.

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