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Hanoi kindergarten reopening raises teacher shortage concerns



Many kindergartens in Hanoi welcomed over 80 percent of students back on April 13 after a long shutdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The happiness of going back to school, however, is contrasted by the concern over a severe shortage of teachers, babysitters and security guards at preschools.

“Many teachers took on a better gig”

Quynh Nga, owner of a kindergarten in Thanh Xuan District, said that only one third of its old teachers returned to work on the reopening day.

“Many teachers have taken another job. Despite non-professional jobs, they have stable income and are not worried about being unemployed due to the pandemic,” Nga shared, adding that as the date of the reopening was unknown, the kindergarten failed to check whether its old teachers wanted to return to work or employ new staff.

As such, the city’s decision to reopen kindergartens after the recent Hung Kings’ Commemoration Day holiday, which fell on April 10, perplexed many kindergartens.

In many online kindergarten groups, private kindergarten owners frequently voiced their concerns over a serious shortage of teachers and workers.

On April 13, the number of children returning to kindergartens accounted for some 62 percent of the total and would continue to rise in the following days, according to Truong Thu Ha, deputy head of the education and training division of Hoang Mai District.

However, only 63.2 percent of kindergarten teachers registered to return to work on the day, said Ha.

“The number of teachers is just sufficient, but if the number of kindergarteners going back goes up, there will be a shortage of teachers for sure,” said Ha.

Similarly, according to the education and training division in Ba Dinh District, on April 13, nearly 80 percent of children in the district returned to kindergartens.

“If all school-age children had gone back to in-person classes, we would have faced a shortage of 215 teachers,” said the head of the division.

Meanwhile, statistics from the Hoan Kiem District education authorities indicated that some 30 to 40 percent of kindergarten teachers were considering quitting jobs.

The principal of a kindergarten in the district said that some teachers had gotten another job and refused to return, while many others had taken a temporary job such as babysitting kids at home.

These teachers might return to the kindergarten for work only after their current contracts expire.

“It will be hard to deal with the shortage of teachers as monthly salary levels are low at VND4-6 million (US$175-261). Besides, they spend 10 to 12 hours working and suffer much pressure.

“Meanwhile, if diseases break out, they are the first to be affected and become unemployed. Those who return to work at kindergartens certainly either love teaching or have yet to land a good job,” said a manager of the Ong Viet kindergarten system in Hanoi City.

Giving priority to children at disbanded kindergartens

Le Duc Thuan, head of the Ba Dinh District education and training bureau, said that the district had seen five kindergartens and four classes at private ones disband after the pandemic.

The students at these facilities will be transferred to others, putting further pressure on the teacher shortage.

Another district, Nam Tu Liem, has seen some 10 classes dissolved, said Nguyen Thi Huong, head of the education and training division of the district.

“Children at disbanded kindergartens will be prioritized for moving to public facilities,” said Huong, adding that parents can select to send their children to another private kindergarten.

Statistics from education and training divisions showed that the number of kindergarteners back to in-person classes in each district accounted for 60 to 87 percent of the total, while the number of children aged five returning to kindergartens represented over 90 percent. 

Some children have failed to get back to kindergartens as their old schools were closed. Also, many parents remained hesitant to send their kids back to school due to the pandemic.

“I am sending my kid to a group of about five to seven children. The group has been maintained during the closure of kindergartens.

“One of the parents lent premises, while we hired two kindergarten teachers to teach and take care of the group. Everything is running smoothly, so I have yet to allow my kid to get back to school,” shared by a parent in My Dinh, Nam Tu Liem District.

Speaking at a working session at some kindergartens, Tran Thiet Cuong, director of the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, said that local education and training divisions were told to review the shortage of teachers facing public kindergartens.

The department will report the results to the Hanoi government so the city can map out a plan for teacher recruitment.

Job transaction sessions for preschool teachers

Despite the relative stability of teachers at public preschools, many student-intensive schools are still facing a serious lack of teachers.

therefore, Bac Tu Liem District is planning to team up with some units to hold job transaction sessions for preschool teachers in an effort to help schools fix a teacher shortage in the near future.

Special welcome to kindergarteners

On the day of reopening kindergartens, Hanoi witnessed preschools give various welcome ways with an aim to create a pleasant and friendly atmosphere for children.

The Hoa Mi Kindergarten in Ba Dinh District asked its teachers and employees to dress as cartoon characters. Children could see and shake hands with numerous cartoon characters at the school gate, the school yard and the corridors leading to their classrooms.

Meanwhile, at the Viet Trieu Kindergarten, female teachers were wearing colorful clothes and crowns as princesses with school welcome signs in hands to greet students and instruct them how to disinfect their hands.

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Vietnam to host inaugural NASA Space Week next week



The Vietnam Space Week will be organized in three Vietnamese localities next week, making Vietnam the first Southeast Asian country to hold such a NASA event.

The collaboration for the event involves the People’s Committees of Hau Giang Province, Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City, and Binh Dinh Province, alongside the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The Hau Giang Convention Center in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang will kick off the first two days of the multi-day event on June 5 and 6.

The Student Culture House in Ho Chi Minh City, located at the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc City, will host the third day’s activities on June 7.

The final two days of the event, June 8 and 9, will take place at the Binh Dinh Convention Center in the south-central namesake province.

The objective is to motivate the young generation through captivating stories of astronauts and to introduce scientific research aimed at protecting the earth, mitigating environmental pollution, and raising awareness about the potential dangers of asteroid collisions.

The event’s agenda also includes a NASA STEM Day providing students with the opportunity to participate in various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities such as astrophysics, zero gravity experiments, robotics, virtual reality experiences, and other engaging scientific programs.

Former astronaut Mike Baker, who was on four space missions, and former flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid will be in attendance at the five-day event, according to The Saigon Times.

“It marks the inaugural implementation of this event in a Southeast Asian country,” The Saigon Times quoted chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association Lam Nguyen Hai Long as saying at the event’s press conference on May 29. 

“We look forward to its continuity as an annual event and aspire for Vietnam to be a host country preferred by NASA, with the possibility of elevating the event to a regional scale in the future.”

The concept of the Space Week has been prevalent in Scotland since the early 2000s, following the introduction by Hyang Lloyd, a former NASA employee, according to The Saigon Times

The event is also held annually to showcase NASA’s remarkable accomplishments and contributions in the realms of space exploration, scientific investigations, and technological advancements. 

It encompasses a range of activities organized by NASA and its affiliated partners.

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Vietnam bags 4 silvers, 2 bronzes at 2023 Asia-Pacific Informatics Olympiad



All six members of the Vietnamese team competing at the 2023 Asia-Pacific Informatics Olympiad won medals, including four silvers and two bronzes, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training announced on Tuesday.

The four silver medals went to Nguyen Duc Thang, an 11th grader from Hung Vuong High School for Gifted Students in the northern province of Phu Tho; Nguyen Ngoc Dang Khoa, a 12th grader; Pham Cong Minh, an 11th grader; and Tran Xuan Bach, a 12th grader, all from High School for Gifted Students of the University of Science under the Vietnam National University-Hanoi.

The two bronze medals were secured by Le Ngoc Bao Anh, a 12th grader from Le Quy Don High School for Gifted Students in Da Nang, and Tran Vinh Khanh, a 12th grader from Quang Tri Township High School in Quang Tri Province, north-central Vietnam.

The 2023 Asia-Pacific Informatics Olympiad was held online with 1,471 contestants from 36 countries and territories, including students from Canada, Mexico, and Brazil who were invited to participate in the competition but not considered for prizes. China was the host country.

Fifteen Vietnamese students joined the competition at the University of Engineering and Technology under the Vietnam National University-Hanoi on May 20.

Six contestants with the highest scores were chosen for prize consideration, according to regulations of the competition.

With the six medals, Vietnam ranked ninth among the participating countries and territories.

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Vietnamese students win four bronze medals at Asian Physics Olympiad



A team of eight Vietnamese students competed in this year’s Asian Physics Olympiad, winning four bronze medals, according to the results announced by the contest organizers on Sunday.

The four bronze medals went to 12th graders Phan The Manh and Nguyen Tuan Phong of Bac Ninh High School for the Gifted in northern Bac Ninh Province, 11th grader Vo Hoang Hai of the High School for the Gifted of Natural Sciences under the University of Science, Vietnam National University-Hanoi, 11th grader Than The Cong of Bac Giang High School for the Gifted in northern Bac Giang Province.

Four 12th graders, namely Vu Ngo Hoang Duong, Nguyen Minh Tai Loc, Le Viet Hoang Anh, and Nguyen Tuan Duong, were awarded certificates of merit.

The eight students from the Vietnamese team participating in the 2023 Asian Physics Olympiad in Mongolia. Photo: Ministry of Education and Training

The eight students from the Vietnamese team participating in the 2023 Asian Physics Olympiad in Mongolia. Photo: Ministry of Education and Training

The 2023 Asian Physics Olympiad is being held from May 21 to 29 in Mongolia, where 195 students from 26 teams representing 25 countries and territories sit for both theoretical and practical examinations, each lasting 300 minutes.

Vietnam has taken part in the Asian Physics Olympiad a total of 22 times, according to news site VnExpress.

Last year, the Vietnamese delegation claimed a silver medal, two bronze medals, and five certificates of merit. 

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