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English centers remain quiet notwithstanding permission to reopen in Ho Chi Minh City

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Many English language centers in Ho Chi Minh City have remained closed even though local authorities already allowed the resumption of in-person learning earlier this week.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper has contacted some popular English centers such as VUS, ILA, and YOLA, whose consultants said they were unclear when in-person classes would resume even when Vietnam has switched to living safely with the coronavirus from a zero-COVID strategy, backed by a wide vaccine coverage rate.

Most courses are still organized online, but learners can register for offline classes in advance by taking placement tests virtually.

Now is not a good time

This is not a suitable time to welcome back learners as most students are busy with their first-term exams at school, a representative of SEAMEO Regional Training Center explained, adding that students will have a Lunar New Year break in about three weeks.

Do Thuy Hong, CEO of IvyPrep Education, said she is glad that foreign language centers are permitted to offer in-person classes, but IvyPrep Education is still concerned about the safety of students, staff, and the community given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The center is conducting a survey to assess the demand of students and their parents before making further decisions, Hong added.

It may apply a hybrid learning model, which includes 50 percent of online classes and 50 percent of in-person courses.

“We encourage fully-vaccinated middle school and high school students to take part in offline courses, while elementary school students should continue with remote learning,” Hong elaborated.

Most learners are not vaccinated

Aside from facilities running preparatory programs for English certificates such as the IELTS and TOEIC tests, most English centers in Ho Chi Minh City offer their courses to young learners, according to a manager of a center in Tan Binh District.

The manager said more than 65 percent of the learners at his facility are elementary school students, who have not received COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, learners and teachers must be inoculated with at least one dose to partake in offline classes at local centers, according to public health regulations.

“Unless authorities set out specific criteria for younger learners, we will have to wait until elementary school students are vaccinated to reopen,” the manager said.

A representative of APAX Leaders said that the center will maintain remote learning in the meantime as most of its learners are in seventh grade and lower.

An English center remains closed in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trong Nhan / Tuoi Tre

An English center remains closed in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trong Nhan / Tuoi Tre

Foreign teachers count the days

Raphael Galuz, a Frenchman who teaches English at a center in District 7, said he had had challenging months as strict social distancing measures resulted in his wage being halved.

His center had to lower tuition fees to discourage learners from quitting during the pandemic, and thus teachers’ payment also decreased, Galuz explained.

Chubby Vinaltino, a Singaporean teacher at an English center in Tan Phu District, said he is teaching only two classes, about eight hours, per week, which is four to five times lower than before the outbreak began on April 27 last year.

Vinaltino only received US$10 for an hour of online teaching, compared to the $15-20 per hour that he got from in-person instruction.

The teacher added that his income had shrunk by $70-80 per week, which made it difficult for him to pay for food, rent, and utilities.

“Three of my friends who are English teachers have had to move to cheaper places to live,” Vinaltino said.

Some even had to sell their own phone, he added.

Vinaltino said his only wish is that English centers welcome back learners as soon as possible, which will help foreign teachers solve their financial problems.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded over 507,000 local COVID-19 infections since the fourth virus wave hit the country on April 27, 2021.

Due to the serious outbreak, municipal authorities required all students to stay home and switch to remote learning on May 10, which resulted in the suspension of in-person classes at all educational facilities, including English language centers.

After the pandemic was put under control, ninth and twelfth graders were allowed to resume in-person learning from mid-December, while seventh, eighth, tenth, and eleventh graders could return to school on January 4.

Centers teaching foreign languages and computing were permitted to resume offline classes from January 4, but teachers and learners must be at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease.

The city began providing vaccination to children aged 12 to 17 in late October.

As of December 9, 96.6 percent of residents in this age range had received one dose, while 85.5 percent had been jabbed twice.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20220109/english-centers-remain-quiet-notwithstanding-permission-to-reopen-in-ho-chi-minh-city/65135.html

Education

Vietnam places 1st at Microsoft Office Specialist Word Championship

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Vietnam has finished first at the 2022 Microsoft Office Specialist Word Championship, winning two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze.

The four faces who brought glory to Vietnam at the world’s largest MSO playground include Bui Cong Minh from Nguyen Tat Thanh Middle and High School in Hanoi, who received a gold medal in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016; Nguyen Duy Phong from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, who won a gold medal in Microsoft Excel 365 Apps and Office 2019; Nguyen Trong Khai from University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, who bagged a silver medal in Microsoft Word 365 Apps and Office 2019; and Dao Ngoc Tung Chi from Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, who took home a bronze medal in Microsoft Word 2016.

Unable to hide his emotions at the awards ceremony, Minh felt like “exploding,” shaking in happiness when his name was mentioned.

He is also the youngest competitor who has ever clinched a gold medal in the history of Vietnam’s participation in the contest.

Phong was also enthusiastic to share his happiness on achieving the highest degree of awards, bringing glory to his home country.

Vietnam received the most awards from this year’s Microsoft Office Specialist Word Championship edition, said Doan Hong Nam, president of IIG Vietnam, chief of the national organizing committee and head of the Vietnamese team.

This is also the first time in 13 years of competing at the championship that the Vietnamese team has reached the top spot.

The Microsoft Office Specialist Word Championship is an international playground for students, aged 13-22, on a global scale to find and glorify talents in Microsoft Office usage.

Its 2022 edition took place in Anaheim, California from July 24 to 27

Vietnam’s medal tally at all MOSWC iterations has added up to four gold medals, three silvers, and 10 bronzes.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20220731/vietnam-places-1st-at-microsoft-office-specialist-word-championship/68378.html

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Vietnam launches Simons Astrophysics Group

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The launch of an astrophysics group in Vietnam funded by the U.S.-based Simons Foundation was announced during two international workshops on astrophysics in Quy Nhon City of the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh on Monday.

Rencontres du Vietnam (Meeting Vietnam) convened the two workshops, the ‘Golden Universe: Nuclear Astrophysics and Cosmic Rays in the Multimessenger Era’ and the ‘2022 SAGI Astrophysics Workshop on New Frontiers of Astrophysics in the Golden Era of Dust Polarimetry,’ at the International Center for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE).

The event gathered more than 30 Vietnamese and foreign scientists from France, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia; as well as around 50 physics students from three specialized high schools in Binh Dinh and the neighboring province of Phu Yen.

Prof. Tran Thanh Van delivers a remark at the opening of two international workshops on astrophysics in Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam, July 25, 2022. Photo: Lam Thien / Tuoi Tre

Prof. Tran Thanh Van delivers a remark at the opening of two international workshops on astrophysics in Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam, July 25, 2022. Photo: Lam Thien / Tuoi Tre

During the events, Dr. Nguyen Trong Hien, a Vietnamese-American astrophysicist working for NASA, announced the launch of the Simons Astrophysics Group at ICISE (SAGI), the first of its kind in Vietnam.

The group, including many Vietnamese experts working overseas, is funded by the U.S.-based Simons Foundation, one of the largest charitable organizations in the States making grants in mathematics and physical sciences, life sciences, autism research, and education and outreach.

“SAGI will organize seminars and summer schools, cooperate [with other organizations] in analyzing scientific data, and support young scientists in the country,” Dr. Hien said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20220726/vietnam-launches-simons-astrophysics-group/68296.html

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Vietnam’s oldest candidate graduates from high school at 82

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An 82-year-old man from Hanoi, the oldest candidate in Vietnam’s 2022 national high school graduation exam, officially passed the test with a total score of 22.35, as per the results announced on Sunday. 

The Vocational and Continuing Education Center in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi, the school Nguyen Huy Ky attended before the exam, confirmed his results later on the same day.

Ky, 82, got 4.75 points out of 10 in literature, 3.6 points in math, 7.5 points in history, and 6.5 points in geography to pass the graduation exam and is now a high school graduate.

He was given 0.25 priority points as a candidate who is 35 years or older, as of the date of the high school graduation exam.

As a continuing education student with a grade-A computer certificate or higher, he also got an additional one point.

Nguyen Huy Ky, 82, is pictured during the 2022 national high school graduation exam at Thanh Xuan Middle School in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Huy Ky, 82, is pictured during the 2022 national high school graduation exam at Thanh Xuan Middle School in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

During the national high school graduation exam that took place at the beginning of this month, at the exam site of Thanh Xuan Middle School in the namesake district, Ky drew attention as the oldest candidate in the country still pursuing a high school diploma at the age of over 80.

At that time, Ky told a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter that the reason for his pursuit is to return to the profession of Oriental medicine, which requires him to attend a medical school, and a high school diploma is a must for admission to the medical school.

In Vietnam, the national high school graduation exam, considered one of the most important events in the life of every school student, is organized in July every year for 12th graders and independent candidates. 

The exam results are used for both high school graduation and enrollment in universities and junior colleges.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20220725/vietnams-oldest-candidate-graduates-from-high-school-at-82/68278.html

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