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Ten Vietnamese teams to compete at 2020 ASEAN Information Security Contest



Ten Vietnamese teams and six others from ASEAN countries will take part in the final round of the 2020 ASEAN Student Contest on Information Security later this month.

The Vietnam Information Security Association and relevant departments under the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Information and Communications jointly organize the contest, consisting of three rounds – starting, qualifying, and final.

This year’s competition has attracted 92 teams with a higher number of female participants than previous editions, including 15 Vietnamese and eight from ASEAN countries.

Participants entering the final round are those winning the qualifying round, which took place in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi at the end of last month.

This year’s competition featured more questions and a higher level of difficulty, requiring contestants to handle complicated software errors.

Just a third of the participating teams could finish one-third of the test in the qualifying round.

Ending the qualifying round in the north, Pawsitive from the University of Engineering and Technology under the Vietnam National University, Hanoi defeated other rivals to win the first prize.

Three teams of PTIT.1nfern0 from the Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, AmongUs from FPT University, and MSEC_ADC from Military Technical Academy shared the second prize.

Three teams from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, one from the Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, and one from Military Technical Academy received the third prize.

Another seven teams with good performances also received consolation prizes from the organizers.

Below is the list of 10 Vietnamese teams participating in the finale of the contest on November 28:

1. HMCUS.Twice – University of Natural Science, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

2. NotEfiens – University of Technology, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

3. Pawsitive – University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University, Hanoi

4. PTIT.AmongUs – Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, Ho Chi Minh City

5. PTIT. PTIT.1nfern0 – Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, Hanoi

6. ISIT-DTU1 – Duy Tan University

7. MSEC_ADC – Military Technical Academy

8. AmongUs – FPT University, Hanoi

9. Nupakachi – Hanoi University of Science and Technology

10. MSEC_SUPPORT – Military Technical Academy

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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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Vietnamese family passes down love for teaching through generations



A married couple in Ho Chi Minh City have not only put their hearts into their teaching jobs, they have spent more than three decades perfecting their profession, and have also encouraged their children to follow in their footsteps.

Passing on knowledge to students and helping shape their character are a legacy bequeathed across three generations in the family of Tran Quang Vinh and Nguyen Thi Le Hang, both chemistry teachers at Hung Vuong High School in District 5.

Hang, who recently retired as a tenured educator but still teaches on a visiting basis at the school, inherited the passion for the job from her parents, who were veteran teachers at a local elementary school.

Her two sisters also followed in their parents’ footsteps.

Hang’s family is not the only one who has maintained the decade-long tradition.

Vinh, Hang’s husband, also has two siblings on his side who became teachers, though their parents did not work in the education sector.

Despite the challenges involved, they all find teaching a satisfactory livelihood and rewarding profession.

Nguyen Thi Le Hang (standing, center) teaches chemistry to 11th graders at Ho Chi Minh City-based Hung Vuong High School, Vietnam. Photo: Nhu Hung/ Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Le Hang teaches chemistry to 11th graders at Hung Vuong High School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

The couple’s greatest pride is that their daughter, Tran Ngoc Minh Vy, has also gone into teaching.

Vy began her career as a physics teacher at the very school where her parents started working four years ago.

Vinh shared his work, however, is only half done.

Their son, concerned that he will not make a good teacher due to his bad temper, is currently studying pharmacology, despite all the efforts they have put in to persuade him to take up teaching.

Rewarding, worthy calling

Like in many other Asian countries, teachers command respect in Vietnam and hold a trusted place in the community.

Despite their great passion and skills, many teachers, particularly those in rural areas, find themselves juggling between day jobs and home-tutoring sessions or other jobs to make a living.

Vinh had a tough time early on in his teaching career. He was even teetering on the verge of giving up the profession for better-paid jobs.

Upon graduating in chemistry from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education in 1988, Vinh was assigned to Le Minh Xuan High School in the suburban district of Binh Chanh, where he worked as a teacher and was also in charge of youth activities.

Like most rural teachers with fewer educational and personal resources back then, he would cycle more than 15 kilometers of bumpy dirt roads from the inner city to a poverty-stricken neighborhood where the school was located.

With his salary sufficient for breakfast only, the young man had to rely on his family for financial support to hold on to his pursuit.

Despite his lack of income, Vinh pressed on by offering free tutoring classes to stop his students from falling behind. Busy helping their family make a living, however, several did not make it to his supplementary classes.

It was then that the man began to question his career choice.

“How will I be able to provide for my wife and children later on while I’m still financially dependent on my parents for living expenses?” Vinh recalled the time when he was at his wits’ end.

He added he was so deeply moved as many of his students pleaded with him not to leave them behind that he shrugged off the idea of job change and has stayed steadfast in his original career choice since.

Hang, Vinh’s wife, said even now many of their colleagues still joke that a three-generation family working as teachers would mean shaky finances.

Hang shared she is happily married to Vinh, her university sweetheart. Vinh is currently vice-head of their school’s chemistry teacher group.

Despite retiring a few months ago, Hang still teaches at the school as a visiting teacher to remain connected to her job of choice and her beloved students.

“My wife is still fit and finds it hard to part with her students, so she just continues her job. After more than 30 years into the job, we’re under no financial pressure now,” Vinh explained.

He noted despite the initial tough time, teaching has brought financial stability and discipline to his family over the decades.

“Well-qualified teachers don’t have a single worry about financial security. Our family isn’t well off, but we’re definitely not poor,” the veteran educator said with a contented smile.

Apart from financial boons, Vinh stressed educational guides like him who lead and inspire students toward a lifetime filled with achievements and transformations are also treated to joys that may not be typically part of other jobs. 

The senior teacher proudly said many of his thankful former students who have carved out successful careers and enjoyed high social status make it a point to pay him a visit on Vietnamese Teachers’ Day – November 20 – and Lunar New Year each year to mark their respect for their teacher.

“Several also drove me around for sightseeing,” Vinh added.

Vinh and Hang’s calling exerts a positive impact on their personal life.

“We have a cozy, disciplined family, obedient, well-educated children and a stable life. My dearest wish is to see my children and grandchildren keeping our teaching tradition going,” Vinh shared.

Challenges ahead

As today’s digital life has disrupted eons-old human activities and spread to a large portion of the world’s inhabitants, including high school and university students, it has brought about unprecedented challenges and mounting pressure for teachers.

Tran Quang Vinh (right) poses during his chemistry class with 12th graders at Ho Chi Minh City-based Hung Vuong High School, Vietnam. Photo: Nhu Hung/ Tuoi Tre

Tran Quang Vinh gestures during his chemistry class with 12th graders at Hung Vuong High School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

According to Hang, what today’s educators are up against involves how to get students’ mind off digital devices, social media, and online games which they constantly have at their fingertips.

“If we pay individual attention and advise the students against overusing the devices, our well-meaning act may turn out to be an intrusion on their privacy,” she stressed.

Vinh added another challenge is the struggle to keep children from well-off families motivated.

“Some even told me they don’t need to study as many university graduates end up earning meager salaries while the monthly allowances they receive from their parents come out higher than that,” he said.

Tran Ngoc Minh Vy, Vinh and Hang’s first child, shared she takes great pride in being a homeroom teacher despite being a newcomer.

“I’m happy in the role of a teacher,” Vy said.

Sharing her parents’ concerns, the young woman agreed that today’s teachers are placed under overwhelming pressure.

“The greatest source of pressure comes from teachers being asked to reinvent themselves and keep their methodology and lessons updated and in line with the reformed curriculum,” Vy said.

The young teacher added educators need to put in a great deal more effort compared to their predecessors to keep their students away from distractions and focused on their studies and training on how to turn out a good citizen.

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