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Digital transformation will challenge teachers to step out of their ‘safety zone’



If teachers don’t undergo transformation, or do this by half, the digital transformation process will be stagnant.

While many business fields and careers have been ‘engulfed’ by the ‘information technology wave’ in the last decade, tertiary education remains unaffected, according to a book about digital transformation and internationalization of universities published by the Erasmus Mundus Program in 2019.

Digital transformation will challenge teachers to step out of their ‘safety zone’

The traditional way of teaching and learning is still being done, and there is a lack of motivation for reform, the authors said.

At the workshop ‘Smart university – opportunities and challenges’ organized about one year ago, Dr Nguyen Chan Hung from the Institute for Control Engineering and Automation, an arm of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, affirmed that the 4.0 industry revolution will upset the entire education system, especially higher education. Vietnamese schools have begun the transformation, but they are only at the ‘starting’ point.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic, which broke out in early 2020, has forced everything to change. Universities, like it or not, will have to participate in and speed up digital transformation.

Teachers have to step out of their ‘safety zone’

Pham Thai Son, a lecturer at the HCM City University of Food Industry, said that teachers play a very important role in the digital transformation.

“Teachers have to first undergo the transformation before others,” he said.

Schools have been changing their thinking. They have been building models to digitize lectures and learning materials, and converting the things they use into digital resources.

According to Son, in addition to professional knowledge, lecturers need to have knowledge in technology, especially information technology.

“As students regularly access technology, teachers also have to have knowledge in technology, at least enough to use. They need to be bold to step out of their “safety zone” to keep up with the changes of the times,” he said.

At the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, during the epidemic, the lecturers quickly put school materials on the internet and combined them with available international material sources to improve online teaching quality.

Dinh Van Phong, Vice Rector of the school, pointed out that the challenge of digital transformation is changing users’ mindset.

“We cannot follow the old way of working on a new digitized system. Digital transformation doesn’t mean change something from ‘paper’ to the ‘internet’,” he said.

“Digital transformation must be associated with international standardization and reduction of cumbersome procedures,” he said. “Digital transformation causes every unit and every individual to rethink the working process.”

While many business fields and careers have been ‘engulfed’ by the ‘information technology wave’ in the last decade, tertiary education remains unaffected

For the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, the major goal of digital transformation in tertiary education is improving the quality and experience of learners. Digital technology increases the school’s competitiveness, and creates a culture of making decisions based on analyzing data so as to optimize the school’s resources.

According to Hanoi Industry University, teaching methods have been the slowest to change in the transformation and it is the biggest ‘bottleneck’ of the process.

To speed up digital transformation, Kieu Xuan Thuc, head of the training division of the school, thinks that training units need to implement combined teaching for all theoretical and experimental modules on computers; develop 100 percent online training programs for some majors such as IT and business; and diversify training programs towards interdisciplinary majors with digital technology integration.

In addition, according to Thuc, the important factor is improving the capability of the teaching staff to implement teaching methods using information technology and digital technology and online training forms.

What determines the success of digital transformation in education?

At the HCM City University of Technology and Education, the number of lecturers applying digital teaching has increased rapidly within several years.

In the first semester of the 2014-2015 academic year, there were only 17 lecturers applying digital teaching. The figure is now 700.

However, Do Van Dung, rector of the school, said that many lecturers cannot adapt to the new technology. The problem for schools is that they have to spend money to lease technology platforms every year to keep operating. Meanwhile, lecturers have to be trained regularly.

“Lecturers need to be dynamic and take the initiative in mastering technology. Schools have to spend money on servers and big data centers as well as build lecture recording studios. Everything has to change,” Dung said.

Son also warned that if teachers don’t undergo transformation, or do this by half, the digital transformation process will be stagnant.

“Technology use will determine the success of digital transformation,” he concluded. 

Le Huyen – Thuy Nga



Da Nang Airport gets international heath accreditation for Covid-19 measures



Da Nang Airport gets international heath accreditation for Covid-19 measures

Passengers in face masks at Da Nang International Airport, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

Da Nang Airport has been awarded the Airports Council International’s health accreditation for its safety measures against Covid-19.

The accreditation was granted on Thursday, said Giao Thong, the Transport Ministry’s news website.

It is the second airport in the country after Hanoi’s Noi Bai to receive the accreditation, a program that supports airports around the globe in introducing preventive hygiene, health and safety measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

The ACI evaluates cleaning and disinfection procedures, physical distancing, staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications, and passenger facilities for the certification, which is valid for 12 months.

When the pandemic broke out last January, Da Nang Airport and the city’s Disease Control Center disinfected the entire international terminal, set up temperature screening facilities and distributed 100,000 free masks to passengers, the airport operators told Giao Thong.

Passengers and airport staff have since been required to wear masks and use hand sanitizers.

In March, when the government imposed flight bans and travel restrictions, Da Nang Airport stopped receiving inbound international flights except for some 60 repatriation flights carrying Vietnamese citizens home.

Tan Son Nhat Airport is also being considered for the accreditation.

As of December over 185 airports around the world have got the accreditation, including Singapore’s Changi, Hong Kong and Cambodia’s Siem Reap in the Asia-Pacific.


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One-arm hairdresser follows dream job, raises two kids by herself




Lê Thị Kim Trâm, who was left with only one arm following an accident four years ago, pursues her passion as a hairdresser. — Photo Việt Dũng

Việt Dũng

HCM CITY — Despite missing an arm, Lê Thị Kim Trâm is doing an inspiring feat: making a living as a hairdresser and raising two kids by herself.

Trâm, 41, opened her own barber shop in District 2’s Thảo Điền Ward in 2007, making use of her skills that had been passed down from her family. However, in 2016 while riding her motorbike, she had an accident in which a truck crushed her left arm, leaving her with only one arm.

During her stay at the hospital, she kept thinking about how she could continue her job and thought that she might be able to do everything one-handed.

“When I returned to my job, I was lucky to have a frequent customer who allowed me to practise cutting his hair with my one arm. Before, I had been able to do a person’s hair in around seven minutes, but it took me around 50 minutes, and it didn’t even look that good,” she told Việt Nam News.

Despite her worries about her haircutting skills, the customer spread the word about Trâm, encouraging more people to visit her shop. More and more customers were supportive in helping her return to work. With time, her skills greatly improved, and now she can cut hair just as well as any other abled barbers or hairdressers.

Unfortunately, not every customer was as open-minded and generous; when customers saw her for the first time, some were nervous about letting her cut their hair, while others outright took their leave.

“But customers who are fine with me cutting their hair always return and introduce me to other people. That is a great motivator for me, and I’m really happy about it.”

Trâm’s barber shop is called Nghi Nghiêm, after the names of her two kids.

Nimble skills 

Watching Trâm work is a sight to behold: she uses her pinky and ring finger to lift a customer’s hair up in place of a comb, then uses her three remaining fingers to hold the scissors to cut the hair.

Trâm is also able to use hair trimmers and razors with ease, delicately trimming bits of hair from her customers with great precision, who are now more comfortable with letting Trâm pursue her expertise.

Most spectacularly of all, her skill of removing ear wax (a common service offered by Vietnamese barber shops) even surpasses several barbers with two functional arms.

Ear wax removal is a difficult task that requires a great deal of finesse, and even abled barbers can struggle with removing wax located deep inside customers’ ears. Trâm, on the other hand, can meticulously clean out even the tiniest bits.

Watching her work so effortlessly may make you forget that she had to go through a great deal of practice to hone her skills.

Unsurprisingly, Trâm has had to improvise after her accident: she uses her thighs to clutch certain equipment or to help her roll cotton bits onto wax removal tools or a piece of flexible plastic to flatten the customer’s ear.

Trâm even uses her leg to lean the customer’s chair back for ear wax cleaning, and she has to bend in certain ways to get a better look inside customers’ ears, which she would not have to do if she had two arms.

“At first it was really challenging, but with passion for my job and supportive customers, I am still doing my job to this day,” she said.

Nguyễn Đình Biền, a frequent customer, said that he had always found her skills to be great, and admired her determination. Even when she was practising with one arm, he still preferred her over others.


Trâm raises two kids and does everything for her family by herself. — Photo courtesy of Lê Thị Kim Trâm

Overcoming challenges

One year after her accident, her husband told her that he wanted to divorce her.

“I was devastated. I felt like I had just escaped death from my accident, so how could my husband hurt me like that? Still, I decided that it was just fate so I let him go, and began anew, using my one arm to raise my two kids.”

After the divorce, Trâm and her two children moved out and rented a place on another street in the same ward, where she set up her barber shop.

Trâm has been shouldering multiple responsibilities, from earning an income and paying school fees and rent to daily problems like her bike breaking down or her children getting sick.

“Even though I sometimes feel really bad about myself, I try my hardest to keep my cool and deal with my problems so that my kids do not have to worry about me and can focus on their education.”

Her job allows her to raise her two kids, but though she has a frequent customer base, she charges less than other barbers, so her income is not that great.

“Still, I get to do my job and my kids still have their mother, so I am happy,” she said.

Thanks to recent media coverage, more and more people have been inspired by Trâm, who is originally from Nha Trang.

“Some people have told me that they had been involved in an accident and felt really bad about themselves, but they learned from my example and decided to persevere and overcome their challenges, which filled me with joy,” Trâm said with a bright smile.

“I hope that my determination can reach more and more people, so they will love themselves more. Even if your body is disabled, your spirit does not have to be.” —


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Breakfast @ Tien Phong News — December 5



Read what is in the news today.


— Vietnam’s COVID-19 patient tally remained unchanged at 1,361 with no new local cases confirmed for 24 hours on Friday. 

— A male body without head, arms and legs, alleged to be of a Chinese fisherman, was washed ashore in Phu Hai Commune of Phu Vang District, located in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien-Hue on Friday morning.

— The last domesticated elephant in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, Ya Tau, died at the age of 50, the local authorities announced on Friday afternoon.

— The Ministry of Transport ordered the Health Administration of Transport, in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and related agencies, to establish a task force to inspect the COVID-19 prevention and control works at the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and report to the ministry before December 10.

— The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City put forward a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for consideration and to seek the Prime Minister’s approval for organizing firework displays at the head of Thu Thiem Tunnel in District 1, Landmark 81 Building in Binh Thanh District and Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 to celebrate the New Year 2021.

— More than 150 local people in Ia Phang Commune of Chu Puh District, located in Gia Lai Province, have been hospitalized since Friday morning due to diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness after eating sticky rice given away by a charity group from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in collaboration with the district’s Red Cross earlier the same day. 

— Local authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday afternoon fined each of three people drinking beer at a makeshift store on the sidewalk in District 1 VND2 million (US$86.6) for deliberately not wearing a face mask in public places.


— Vietnam’s ST25 fragrant rice ranked second after Thailand at the 2020 World’s Best Rice Contest in the United States.

— The Vietnam Travel Aviation Co. Ltd, which operates newcomer Vietravel Airlines, is scheduled to receive its first plane at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.


— The Hanoi Department of Education and Training on Friday issued a document to request local schools to avoid large gatherings and ask students and teachers to wear face masks from home to school for COVID-19 prevention and control.

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