Despite their own difficulties, Le Thi Be, 68, and her daughter-in-law have maintained a free classroom for poor children in their community in Vietnam for the past six years.
They run classes for free in the afternoon every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
However, on the remaining days of the week, students can still drop by the small house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City to ask about anything that they do not understand.
With the thought that her children were lucky enough to go to school, Be decided to open a class, believing that other disadvantaged children should have the same opportunities.
At first, Be’s daughter-in-law, Tran Thi Hong Thi, 48, from the south-central province of Binh Thuan, had to knock on doors to persuade parents to bring their kids to the free classroom.
The class has gradually become so popular that a growing number of families are taking their children to the classroom, including some children with mental problems.
Thi is a former student of a pedagogical university in Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province.
After graduating and getting married, she could not follow a career in teaching because of personal reasons.
With her background in education, coupled with the support from her mother-in-law, Thi has become the main teacher of the free class for the past six years.
During the daytime, Be and Thi work as tailors to earn a living and also prepare meals for all the family members.
In the afternoon, Be helps Thi take care of her children, so the daughter-in-law can have time for teaching.
The free class opens at 4:30 pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Despite the ‘fixed’ schedule, students are welcomed to come and ask questions anytime.
Some were sent to the ‘class of teacher Thi’ when they were still three or four years old.
A few older children, who are now elementary students, still come to the class after school to gain more knowledge.
They consider the class their second home.
Even though not all of Thi’s students come from poverty, she teaches all of her classes for free.
“I am extremely happy to be understood and supported by my mother-in-law, who encouraged me to overcome my initial hesitation to teach the children,” Thi told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The main problems to me are the students’ ages are various and today’s learning programs have also changed very much.
“So, I must improve my knowledge and skills via media and books, sometimes I even have to ask our students to adjust my lessons properly.
“Seeing them studying hard makes me really happy.”
As she is a senior now and has no teaching skills, she can only instruct the children on simple numbers and characters, according to Be.
“My daughter-in-law plays a key role in the class; I only take care of them,” said the old woman.
“I feel happy to lend her a hand to teach the children.”
|Le Thi Be (front) and her daughter-in-law Tran Thi Hong Thi are doing their jobs as tailors during the daytime before becoming teachers of disadvantaged children in the afternoon at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Children are studying in the free-of-charge classroom at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be welcomes a boy to the free classroom in the afternoon at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Tran Thi Hong Thi shows a book page during the class where she instructs poor children for free four days a week at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Children are studying in the free-of-charge classroom. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be cares for Tran Thi Hong Thi’s child while Thi is holding a boy’s hand (unseen) to help him write properly during a class at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be helps her daughter-in-law teach some simple calculations to a boy during a class at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|After free-of-charge classes in the afternoon, the mother and daughter-in-law share a cozy and happy dinner at their house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
Dates fixed for 2nd phase of national high school graduation exam in Vietnam
Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training has decided to organize the second phase of the national high school graduation exam next month for students who could not attend the first leg due to COVID-19 impacts.
Pursuant to the ministry’s decision announced on Monday, the second phase of the exam is scheduled for August 6-7, around one month after the first phase that took place on July 7-8.
The second phase is also intended for students who had their tests in the first unfinished because of epidemic outbreaks.
The decision was made following the ministry’s consultation with local education departments in the country’s 63 provinces and cities, as well as the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and the proposals of many provincial and municipal authorities.
Like the first one, the second phase will have five subjects that will be arranged during the two examination days.
The difficulty levels of the exam questions and their duration in this phase will be equivalent to those in the previous leg, the ministry said.
The ministry requested all local exam steering committees send their lists of students attending the second phase before July 20.
Vietnam has so far recorded 65,607 COVID-19 cases since early 2020.
Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave appeared in Vietnam, the country has documented 61,940 domestic cases.
Vietnamese province suspends graduation exam at two test sites over 166 suspected virus cases
The Department of Education and Training in the south-central Vietnamese province of Phu Yen suspended test taking at two high school graduation exam sites after detecting 166 suspected coronavirus infections among students and staff on Wednesday — the first day of the 2021 national high school graduation exam.
Traditionally held in July, the national high school graduation exam is an annual assessment taken by twelfth-grade students in Vietnam at the end of their studies.
The results of the exam are used to ensure students meet graduation requirements and to help colleges and universities make acceptance decisions.
In light of the ongoing pandemic in Vietnam, many provinces and cities tested all candidates for COVID-19 before this year’s exam, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, requiring the in-person attendance of nearly one million students.
In its report to the Ministry of Education and Training on the first exam day, the Department of Education and Training in Phu Yen said 151 candidates and 15 staff members at seven exam venues had apparently contracted the coronavirus.
In response, the department suspended test-taking activities at Nguyen Thi Minh Khai High School in Tay Hoa District and Tran Hung Dao Middle School in Tuy Hoa City, where there were 39 and 100 students, respectively, are suspected to be infected with the pathogen.
All exam questions and exam records at those two test venues were returned to ensure confidentiality in accordance with national regulations.
The suspected test-takers were asked to stay home and adhere to instructions from local medical authorities.
They will take another test in the second phase of the exam, with the dates to be decided by the education ministry.
There were two special cases in which two candidates at two exam sites — Hung Vuong Middle School and Duy Tan High School in Tuy Hoa City — had already received their exam questions before staff were informed that they were suspected to have COVID-19.
The provincial education department allowed the two students to take the test as normal in isolation rooms, which were completely disinfected after the tests were handed in.
Those two students will take the remaining subjects of the exam during the second phase.
The 15 staff members in question were also asked to stay home under the monitoring of local medical authorities.
A spike in local coronavirus infections that emerged on June 23 in Phu Yen has yet to be brought under control.
The province has recorded 315 COVID-19 cases during this latest wave, according to the Ministry of Health’s update on Thursday morning.
In the same update, the health ministry confirmed 314 new cases of COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring province of Binh Duong, increasing the country’s tally to 23,385.
Recoveries have reached 8,557 while the death toll has mounted to 102, the majority of whom were older patients with critical underlying diseases.
As pandemic rages on in Vietnam, nearly 1 million high school students take graduation exam
Despite the developments of COVID-19 in Vietnam, education authorities still stick to the plan to start the 2021 high school graduation exam, which involves the in-person attendance of nearly one million students, on Wednesday.
Traditionally held in July, the national high school graduation exam is an annual assessment that twelfth-grade students in Vietnam’s K-12 system are required to sit after they finish their studies.
Results of the test are needed for graduation and to help universities and colleges enroll undergraduates.
This year’s iteration of the exam is considered a momentous one as it is being held amidst the fourth and worst virus wave, which has driven Vietnam’s case count near 19,000 across 55 out of its 63 provinces and cities, as recorded since it first emerged at the end of April.
Back in 2020, the exam was delayed to August due to the epidemic situation. However, it has returned to the normal time frame of early July this year, even in provinces that are seeing an outbreak.
In light of the situation, provincial authorities have committed efforts, manpower, and resources to ensuring epidemiological safety for test-takers.
Many provinces and cities have tested all candidates for COVID-19 before the exam, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
|Nguyen Thanh Phong (right), chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, visits an exam room at Le Hong Phong Specialized High School in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, July 7, 2021. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre|
Candidates sat for the first test of Vietnamese literature on Wednesday morning before taking the math test in the afternoon, both of which are compulsory subjects for all test-takers, according to the Ministry of Education and Training’s direction.
On Thursday, they will do three other tests of choice, including one in the ‘foreign language’ category; one among physics, chemistry, and biology in the ‘natural science’ classification; and another among history, geography, and civic education in the ‘social science’ group.
|Pham Ngoc Thuong (right), Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Education and Training, visits an exam venue in northern Bac Giang Province, July 7, 2021. Photo: Vinh Ha / Tuoi Tre|
On Wednesday morning, Pham Ngoc Thuong, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, visited northern Bac Giang Province, one of the largest epicenters of Vietnam in the fourth COVID-19 wave, to oversee the high school graduation exam.
Although the spread of COVID-19 in the province has generally been put under control, local authorities still had to suspend an exam venue at a high school after a student tested positive for COVID-19 during the screening process.
|A student and his parent on the way to a venue of the national high school graduation exam in Can Tho City, Vietnam, July 7, 2021. Photo: Chi Cong / Tuoi Tre|
In southern Can Tho City, students had to endure a short shower before they reached exam rooms and took their first test.
“It has been raining since the early hours of the morning. I had to ask my friend to drive me to the venue,” said Nguyen Dang Thanh, a twelfth-grade student of Chau Van Liem High School in Can Tho.
“I’m slightly worried about the first day of the exam, but also confident about my performance in the literature subject.”
|Nguyen Van Phuc (middle), Deputy Minister of Education and Training, visits an exam venue at Trung Vuong High School in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, July 7, 2021. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre|
In the Mekong Delta’s Vinh Long Province, students showed up at exam venues as soon as 6:00 am to do check-in procedures.
As seen at the exam centers of Hoang Thai Hieu High School and Binh Minh High School, parents who accompanied their children had to pull over 50 meters away from the school gates and avoid forming large crowds in front of the schools.
“I’m worried about the COVID-19 situation, but hearing the at-risk exam officers were screened and superseded ahead of the test relieved me a little bit,” said Le Van Cong, a parent of a test-taker.
|A bus carries students from lockdown areas in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam to a venue for the national high school exam at Thua Luu High School, July 7, 2021. Photo: Phuoc Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
In Phu Loc District of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, many students were seen donning raincoats on the way to exam venues due to a sprinkle in the morning.
A total of 13 students who live in cordoned areas in Loc Thuy Ward were allowed to leave to take the test at Thua Luu High School and Thua Luu Middle School.
They were transported to the exam venues on two specialized buses, and were told to do the test in isolated rooms.
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