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Ho Chi Minh City university joins telecoms behemoth Viettel in 5G chip research



One Ho Chi Minh City-based university has partnered with a local technological corporation in an ambitious effort to create their own 5G integrated circuits, or 5G chipsets.

The University of Technology (UT) under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City signed a collaboration agreement with Viettel High Technology Industries Corporation (VHT) —  the key research and production unit of military-run telecoms giant Viettel — for researching and developing integrated circuits used for 5th-generation mobile networks.

Under the agreement, the two sides will collaborate closely on electronics and telecommunications, including the research and development of integrated circuits for 5G, training and developing human resources, and putting the new technological solutions into operation.

Both sides promised to share experience and industrial knowledge regularly and jointly deal with potential issues in training, scientific research, and technology transfer.

As the first part of the collaboration agreement, two sides signed a contract under which UT would provide VHT with consultation services and the design for the 5G transceiver chip in a 14-month period.

VHT, in turn, hopes to accelerate scientific research into technology at the university through the collaboration agreement by commercializing the fruit from its research results.

According to Nguyen Trung Kien, director of the  VHT’s Viettel IC Design Center, the company decided to partner with UT because of its research team whose members are excellent at developing integrated circuits.

“The university’s team of engineers have got many outstanding achievements for the last many years, including some of their best products such as DVB-T — a terrestrial digital TV channel receiver chip — the power amplifier IC, the low noise amplifier (LNA), and mmWave bands, among others relating to integrated circuits,” Kien said.

Kien also expressed his expectation that VHT would have a long-term collaborative relation with UT in order to not only work on the 5G chipsets but also expand the scope of their cooperation to other sectors of 5G technology, the Internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).

A member of the research team at the University of Technology under Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City shows a piece of research equipment to Viettel representatives. Photo: Dieu Linh / Tuoi Tre

A member of the research team at the University of Technology under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City shows a piece of research equipment to Viettel representatives. Photo: Dieu Linh / Tuoi Tre

Designing and producing integrated circuits for the 5G network are considered an important step for Viettel in its strategy to fully master the technologies of the 5G wireless network system, according to VHT general director Nguyen Vu Ha.

Viettel has set a goal of creating a ‘made in Vietnam’ 5G chipset with decisiveness and commitment, he stressed.

To realize the goal, apart from connecting with international companies for technology transfers, Viettel also plans to form their own domestic pool of experts in chip manufacturing and scientists from Vietnamese universities.

Hanoi-based Viettel Group is the largest telecommunication service provider in Vietnam, operated by the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.

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No student left behind: Teachers mobilize to help typhoon victims in central Vietnam



Going above and beyond their job descriptions, teachers in Vietnam’s typhoon-hit provinces are heeding the call of duty, doing everything they can to rebuild their communities and help their students return to school.

Several provinces in north-central Vietnam, particularly Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, are slowly but surely rebuilding in the wake of the downpours, floods, and typhoons that have ravaged their towns and villages over the last few years.

Most recently, a pair of typhoons rocked the area in October, leading to loss of lives, displacement of families, and property damage stretching into the trillions of dong. 

Exacerbating the issue are landslides and floods that have devoured large sections of road, isolating villages and destroying homes and schools.

Despite such tremendous adversity, teachers in these hard-hit locales are refusing to let nature get in their way of reaching students.  

At Bo Trach Boarding High School for Ethnic Minority Students in Thuong Trach Commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province, the 30-member teaching staff has been working around the clock clearing up mud and garbage from the school grounds, tidying classrooms, and ferrying meals through floodwaters on makeshift rafts to feed the school’s student body.

Floods no match for the strength of a teacher

Hoang Duc Hoa, principal of Bo Trach School, shared that keeping the school running despite being nearly cut off from the outside world has been nothing short of challenging.

When the floodwaters receded, he and six of his teachers rushed to Truong Son (Annamite Range) Forest to collect supplies from colleagues who had been taking shelter from the storm.

After traveling 40 kilometers through the forest by motorbike to meet their colleagues, the group was halted by a landslide that had completely blocked the road.

They were then forced to take a detour through the forest, wading through mud and braving falling rocks, until reaching the other side of the blocked road where their colleagues were waiting. 

The meeting was brief – just long enough for the group of teachers to load their bikes with relief supplies. 

At that point, some of the teachers returned home while others came back to the school to be with their students.  

Despite its isolation, the school remained open, with teachers sharing the burden of cooking for students, clearing debris from the campus, and making supply runs on makeshift rafts.  

“We were rowing on what are normally streets, not rivers. The water was about four to 10 meters deep,” Hoa shared.

Teachers at Bo Trach Boarding High School for Ethnic Minority Students, in Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province in north-central Vietnam, carry relief supplies near landslide site in this photo provided by Hoang Duc Hoa, the school’s headmaster

Teachers at Bo Trach Boarding High School for Ethnic Minority Students in Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province in north-central Vietnam carry relief supplies near a landslide site in this photo provided by Hoang Duc Hoa, the school’s headmaster.

Lessons from the heart

Teachers in Can Loc District, Ha Tinh Province, approximately 152 kilometers from Quang Binh Province, have also been doing their part to rebuild the community and help their students return to school.

Nguyen Quoc Hiep, a teacher at My Loc Elementary School and vice-director of the district’s Quang Loc Commune Community Learning Center, is one such teacher.

After hearing about the devastation in his district, Hiep ignored his doctor’s orders and left a hospital where he had been undergoing treatment. 

He felt it was his calling to aid his fellow residents, students, and colleagues in rebuilding the area.

As the schools in Can Loc that had not been flooded were serving as shelters for local residents, teachers had their hands full cleaning, preparing meals for displaced residents, and checking in on locals who were trapped at home.

“Many teachers lost homes and property, but were still pitching in to help clean up the mess at school and reach out to students and locals,” Hiep said.

Some also volunteered to walk dozens of kilometers to other schools and colleagues’ homes to help clear drains and move debris.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, head of Thach Ha District’s Education and Training Bureau in Ha Tinh Province, shared Hiep’s sense of duty.

Nga has spent the days since the typhoon rowing a boat through the district to visit schools, teachers, and students in need.

“Teachers here have a tough life. New graduates earn just VND2-3 million [US$86-130] per month while seasoned teachers make just VND5-6 million [$215-259] each month,” Nga revealed, adding that many teachers in the area supplement their income by farming.

Unfortunately, the recent flooding and typhoons have damaged crops, which has led to many teachers losing vital sources of income.

“Some burst into tears when they saw me. All I could do was try and keep their spirits up,” Nga admitted.

Despite the hardship, Nga said no teachers have asked to resign.

“What keeps them on the job is their passion for teaching, their bonds with colleagues, and their dedication to students,” Nga underlined. 

Even with so much on their plates, many of the area’s teachers worry their students will drop out of school once the flooding recedes, inspiring many to make personal visits to students’ homes to appeal for them to return.

Many teachers have also been willing to donate money so that semi-boarding school students are able to eat when classes resume. 

All of these struggles seem to have strengthened teachers’ resolve to stay on the job.

“Switch jobs? Never!” is Hiep’s resolute answer, one echoed by many of his colleagues in disaster-struck areas.

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Nearly 100,000 students stay home due to 2 coronavirus infections in Saigon



Several schools and universities in Ho Chi Minh City have asked a total number of about 100,000 students to stay home as one of the newly-discovered COVID-19 patients studied at a campus while a handful of the students came into direct interaction with another infection case.

Nguyen Quoc Anh, vice-rector of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH), said that the university sent an announcement to all of its students, which are more than 30,000, asking them to take a break between Wednesday and December 6.

HUTECH will wait for the instruction from the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control to decide on the school resumption.

In addition, the university also notified the families of the students about the school break for COVID-19 prevention and control.

The school closure came as one freshman in the English language major for distance education, who is a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant and was confirmed as COVID-19 patient 1,342 on November 29, had attended class on November 22. He also practiced phonetic exercises with his lecturer.

Vice-rector Anh said on Tuesday night that two lecturers of the university were sent to a centralized quarantine facility, with 25 of its students to follow suit shortly afterward.

Disinfection was scheduled for HUTECH’s entire campus on Wednesday morning.

In the same move, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology (HUFLIT) on Wednesday morning issued an announcement to tell all of its 10,000 students to stay home from Thursday through December 6. The school will issue a new notice after that.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, rector of HUFLIT, explained that the university’s campus in District 10 is located quite close to the places that patient 1,347 visited, including the Highlands Coffee shop in Van Hanh Mall on Su Van Hanh Street, the ICOOL karaoke parlor at 120 Thanh Thai Street, and the branch of KEY English Center at 285/24 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ward 12 in the same district.

Patient 1,347 is an English language teacher and a friend who had come into close contact with patient 1,342 during the latter’s self-isolation at home.

“Teachers and students were quite worried about the situation, so the school decided to let all students leave school until the end of December 6,” said Tuan, adding that the university’s studying activities will move online.

Meanwhile, Ton Duc Thang University will seal off its main campus in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, where about 23,000 students are studying, from Wednesday to December 6. The students will study online instead.

A student from the university’s faculty of electrical and electronic engineering, T.H.T., attended a class of patient 1,347 in District 10 on November 24, before that patient was placed in quarantine.

T. then attended four lessons, with the participation of 40-70 students during each, at the university and traveled around the campus from November 24 to 28.

During that period, academic activities at Ton Duc Thang University took place normally with a large number of students coming to the now sealed-off campus every day.

Another student of Van Lang University, who went to the same CITYGYM room as patient 1,347 during the patient’s unchecked period, has also been sent to a quarantine facility, Vo Van Tuan, vice-rector of the university, confirmed.

The first test result of that student returned negative for the virus, with the second to be released on Thursday, according to Tuan.

The University of Natural Science under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City has decided to temporarily close its dormitory at 135B Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1, where about 300 students are staying, on Wednesday and Thursday after two of its students had direct contact with patient 1,347 and have been placed in centralized quarantine.

The Ho Chi Minh University of Education also requested all of its 14,000 students to turn to studying via the Internet from 12:00 pm on Wednesday through December 13.

The University of Finance – Marketing issued an urgent notice on Wednesday to suspend all education and training affairs for 20,000 students at all of its campuses from 1:00 pm the same day until the end of December 5.

Before these universities, several elementary schools and high schools in some districts had also asked some or all of their students to stay home due to connections with patient 1,347.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally on Wednesday morning reached 1,351, with 1,195 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Three cases recently detected in the community, including patients 1,347, 1,348 and 1,349, are in Ho Chi Minh City. They were all traced back to patient 1,342.

Some 500 people in the city who had direct contact with patient 1,347 have been sent to quarantine facilities, of whom two were later confirmed as patients 1,348 and 1,349.

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In Vietnam, creative teachers give students jolt to spark thinking, improve learning



Two young teachers in Ho Chi Minh City have reinvented themselves to teach in unorthodox ways, sparking their students’ creativity and passion for difficult subjects and scientific research.

These teachers, dubbed ‘masters of creativity,’ make continual changes instead of staying in their comfort zone to motivate their junior and senior high school students to innovate, come up with their own answers rather than waiting for correct ones from their teachers, and voice their own views.

Student-centered lessons

Among them is Nguyen Hong Giang, who has been known to his colleagues and students at Kien Thiet Middle School in District 3 for his creativity and initiative efforts to renovate techniques in teaching Vietnamese literature and improve the students’ experience and learning capability.

His literature lessons, which adopt a model of ‘corners and stops’ with his students placed at the very heart, never cease to amaze and motivate the children.

Improvised as they may appear, the lessons are actually fruits of diligent preparation by both Giang and the middle schoolers.

For a single lesson, which is limited to consolidation units due to the entailed large amount of work, the students are divided into small groups and put in hours preparing materials related to the focal point of the lesson.

Giang keeps close track of the students’ progress and steps in to help wherever they encounter difficulties.    

When the long-awaited class meetings finally come, the groups serve as ‘stops’ placed at different corners of the classroom.

The group members will visit each stop where they exchange what they have found out about their own part and piece together the ‘jigsaw’ of what the lessons are about by the end of the meetings.

“The students can acquire new skills through this approach instead of passively taking in knowledge. The time-consuming preparation is really worth it, in the central role students will be caught up in the tasks and remember what they have learned longer,” Giang explained.

The young teacher, who obtained a master’s degree a few years ago, puts his choice of workplace down to sheer destiny.

Giang finished high school in the northern province of Ha Nam and made university entrance attempts in Hanoi but ended up becoming a student at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education.

Upon graduation, he planned to find a teaching job at a high school in the southern city but he has found a home at Kien Thiet Middle School for nearly eight years now. 

As a homeroom teacher, he always makes sure the 27 students in his class all receive individual attention.

He spends time tutoring at school those who fall behind in schoolwork or find it difficult to fit in on weekends. With the sessions ending at as late as 9:00 pm, the teacher and students also have a heart-to-heart over a simple meal bought from the class savings.

“He’s a fun guy to be with. He always tells funny stories and packs his classes with fun so we can learn more quickly,” remarked Anh Tho, a student from Giang’s homeroom class.

Despite his young age, he is trusted with training his school’s team of elite students for national- and city-level student contests in literature.

His team has pocketed several prizes over the past years, with the latest being three second prizes and one third prize at last year’s city-level contest.    

Giang’s efforts are highly appreciated.

“Giang is so responsible and enthusiastic, and he never gets daunted in the face of adversity. I have observed his lessons, which I find quite interesting,” commented Do Thi Kim Phuong, principal of Kien Thiet Middle School.

“The school management can rest assured with him in charge of coaching our elites.”

A switch that can’t be turned off

Like Giang, Huynh Minh Hai, a physics teacher at Marie Curie High School in District 3, goes to great lengths to hold learning activities aimed at making classes more enjoyable while allowing students to put what they learn to real life.

Huynh Minh Hai (center) instructs his students how to assemble circuit boards during a practice session at Marie Curie High School, located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Quoc Linh/ Tuoi Tre

Huynh Minh Hai instructs his students how to assemble circuit boards during a practice session at Marie Curie High School in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Quoc Linh / Tuoi Tre

During one typical practice session, Hai gave theoretical instructions before dividing the class into groups of four students and having the groups practice assembling circuits on their own.

“Such lessons allow students to take a more active, central role and discuss ways to finish the task together. They can only make it once they get to the root of the problem,” Hai explained.

His destiny with the school, where he has worked for nearly 10 years, is put down to his internship.

The undergraduate back then chose the school for his internship out of his admiration for world-acclaimed Polish-French physicist and chemist Marie Curie, whom the school was named for.

After the two-month internship, during which he performed outstandingly, his single choice of workplace came naturally: Marie Curie High School and of course he landed the job.

Apart from his classes, which allow students to think critically and grow without being told, there is another area that makes Hai popular around the school: coaching the school’s team of research students. 

He and his team work hard to develop brilliant ideas which receive high acclaim from annual school contests into projects that have successfully competed at scientific innovation contests organized by the city. 

He gives clear instructions and helps his students visualize expected findings and products of the projects while allowing them freedom to research what they are really hooked on.

“Of course, the projects originate from the students’ own ideas while I just give orientation and instructions. We aim at coming up with final research products that fit high schoolers’ levels,” Hai shared.

As the leader, Hai humbly said all the credit should go to other young teachers who help prepare the students, and they have much to show for their efforts, including three second prizes and two third prizes last academic year, together with three first prizes in 2018.      

Seven projects have also been selected for this year’s city-level scientific innovation contest.

Hai’s efforts have been well-received by the school management, who are highly appreciative of his challenging work as high schoolers typically cannot set aside time for research given their hectic academic schedule.

“What matters is that the teachers can pique interest in science amongst the students and get them on the right track. We really appreciate Hai’s and other teachers’ contributions to the success of the team,” noted Nguyen Tran Khanh Bao, the school’s vice-principal.

What Giang and Hai have in common is their eagerness to keep improving themselves. Giang obtained his master’s degree in 2016 while Hai earned his in 2018.

Both have been honored with the Ho Chi Minh City Exemplary Young Teachers Award, given away by the municipal chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, for their third time in a row.

“I never cease to teach myself and exceed my limits to keep up with today’s educational trends. I even learn from senior colleagues. Though some of them have retired, I still can put their lessons into practice,” Giang shared.

161 exemplary young teachers honored

The Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union conferred the city-level title of ‘2020 Exemplary Young Teacher’ on 161 teachers working in all grades from preschool to university on November 18.

The title winners were picked from 1,548 candidates from 71 educational establishments.

The title was formerly conferred annually on teachers aged 35 and below with outstanding performance and contributions, particularly innovative teaching methods.

Starting 2020, the title is given to teachers on a biennial basis on Vietnamese Teachers’ Day — November 20 — along with some changes in the criteria.

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