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Torrential rains, flooding prevent 61,000 students from going to school in south-central Vietnam



Nearly 61,000 students could not go to school due to flooding in Vietnam’s south-central Binh Dinh Province on Tuesday, according to the provincial Committee for Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue.

Flooding-affected students were mainly concentrated in the eastern communes of Tuy Phuoc, Phu Cat, and Phu My Districts.

The disaster prevention committee asked school management boards to closely monitor the developments of the flooding situation and the safety of their students and teachers.

Torrential rains have hammered Binh Dinh Province since Sunday, causing floods and landslides.

As of 2:00 pm on Tuesday, floodwaters killed one person, damaged nine houses, and inundated 3,171 houses across Binh Dinh. 

In terms of agriculture, over 1,500 hectares of crops were destroyed while 4.5 metric tons of rice was soaked. 

In addition, a total of 52 cattle and 5,858 poultry died while 1,333 meters of embankments, 4,026 meters of canals, 27 culverts, and 4,941 meters of riverbanks and streams were damaged.

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Young Japanese people undergo one-month apprenticeship in Vietnam



Eleven Japanese students traveled to Vietnam to receive vocational training at Cao Thang Technical College in Ho Chi Minh City for one month.

This is the first student exchange program jointly run by Cao Thang Technical College and Japan’s National Institute of Technology (KOSEN).

A training course by Nguyen Van Thong, deputy dean of the mechanical engineering faculty at Cao Thang Technical College, started to be attended by 11 young Japanese people in mid-September.

In his class, which includes both Vietnamese and Japanese students, Thong provides them with the fundamental principles of machines and practical skills. He uses English as the medium of instruction.

After some theoretical lessons, these students experience practice by operating machines and working on an industrial production line.

“I have spent a lot of time and enhanced efforts to prepare for the lessons in this vocational training course. All documents for the lessons were translated carefully,” Thong said.

“The Japanese students were eager to learn about broader knowledge. They raised several tough questions.”

“We have taught our students how to use various machines, including ones manufactured by Japan.”

The training course of mechanical engineering was part of the Japanese students’ one-month apprenticeship program.

They had earlier spent many days studying electrical refrigeration, and electrical and electronic engineering.

Kusunoki Takeru, who majors in electronic engineering, said that in Japan, students will take some technical and technology subjects before entering their major.

Despite having already studied mechanical engineering and electrical refrigeration, Takeru got deeper knowledge about these majors in Vietnam than in Japan.

Apart from macro-knowledge, the Japanese students were also taught about household electrical refrigeration.

“I can now repair refrigerators at home,” Takeru said.

Nguyen Huu Quyen, deputy dean of the heat and cold engineering faculty at the college, said that many experts from Japan’s air conditioner manufacturer Daikin Industries Ltd. were invited to the training course to upskill the Vietnamese and Japanese students.

Experiencing Vietnamese education, culture

Dr. Le Dinh Kha, principal of Cao Thang Technical College, said that the exchange of the 11 Japanese students is part of the international cooperation between the college and KOSEN.

Multiple Japanese students had visited the college earlier and engaged in some competitions.

However, this is the first time that Japanese students have come to study for one month, Dr. Kha said.

Besides learning technical subjects, these students learn English and Vietnamese language lessons.

The program is aimed at giving the foreign students educational and cultural experiences in Vietnam.

Toyosaki Haruto, whose major is mechanical engineering, is impressed by the college’s Vietnamese lessons.

The Japanese students are taught how to spell Vietnamese words and form basic sentences.

Haruto can now use Vietnamese to buy things and bargain with vendors.

“I also know a set of behavioral etiquette of walking, greeting, and communication in Vietnam. I am really excited about cultural lessons in such a technical college,” said Haruto.

Meanwhile, Torigata Ichita is pleased by out-of-school activities. They have been taken to numerous famous historical relic sites in Ho Chi Minh City, including the historic Cu Chi Tunnels.

Through sightseeing tours, they could feel the value of peace, and the loss and sufferings of wars.

“Some teachers invited us to join cooking courses where various Vietnamese dishes were cooked,” Ichita said, adding that Vietnamese dishes are tasty.

“On the other hand, we held some sessions to introduce Japanese culture to Vietnamese friends,” said the Japanese student.

Apprenticeship in Japan

Takeru said that the majority of Japanese students like going to university. However, those who cherish technical majors prefer vocational facilities to universities.

The number of young Japanese people taking vocational training courses is on the decrease.

Among them, outstanding students will be selected for a special apprenticeship program, called KOSEN. 

KOSEN is a five-year engineering education program for students aged 15 or older who do not continue their high school education after graduating from a middle school.

The program provides students with higher education in engineering.

Engineering courses offered through KOSEN include mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, material science, and information technology, said Takeru.

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Students’ personal data sold publicly at cheap prices in Vietnam



Personal information, especially that of students from Ho Chi Minh City, is being traded on the Internet at very cheap prices.

In the role of a data buyer, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter posted a request in a Facebook group with 8,500 members calling for a list of 10th graders who have just enrolled in Ho Chi Minh City, focusing on District 7, District 8, Nha Be District, and Binh Chanh District. 

The post then immediately attracted three data suppliers. 

A supplier named Dang provided 30 telephone numbers through Telegram, a messaging app, with each attached to the name of a student or their parents.

Though residing in northern Vietnam, Dang has information on students in Ho Chi Minh City. Most phone numbers provided by Dang are real. 

“Without filtering data by district, each number is sold for VND7, while a filtered number costs VND10,” he said.

Another provider called Hieu affirmed he could immediately supply about 3,000 students divided into classes and schools, depending on the requested area.

However, the data may have some errors and need correcting due to new students’ incomplete information, he said.

Hieu then showed a data checklist including 9th graders in the 2022-23 school year, who will be new high schoolers in the following years.

Each row comes with gender, date of birth, phone number, student identification code, and the student’s full name.

He asked for VND2.4 million (US$100) for the list with each student priced at VND1,000 ($0.042)

Upon hearing that the price was only VND7 for a student, Hieu asserted, “That deal is definitely a scam. It can’t be that cheap.

“They must have given a few correct numbers for test calls. After transferring money, they may provide a wrong list or perhaps cut off contact right away.”

Meanwhile, a supplier called Long prioritized selling data in bulk for two reasons.

Aside from better prices, parents are the ones paying tuition fees, so it is more reasonable to call them first. 

Long assured buyers of the quality of his data.

“Our data is collected right from schools. Besides, many English centers and summer camps acquire at least 10,000 numbers, but normally over 20,000 contacts from us during the peak season,” he said. 

It costs VND300 for each datum when purchasing 5,000 telephone numbers, but buying 10,000 numbers only fetches VND200 individually, said Long. 

Sales of students’ personal information are all over social networks. Photo: Screenshot

Sales of students’ personal information are all over social networks in Vietnam. Photo: Screenshot

Personal data traded by schools

Each vocational education and training establishment usually buys about 100,000 students’ phone numbers in Ho Chi Minh City, focusing on 9th and 12th graders, said a marketer named M.Q..

“The probability of students being interested in is often low, but it is still one of the channels that help search for learners,” M.Q. said.

With the phone numbers, the marketing department scans Zalo, a Vietnamese chat app, and then runs advertisements for courses.

Students attracted by these advertisements will continue to receive text messages on the program. 

In the meantime, a life skill training center in Ho Chi Minh City plans to collect customers’ personal data, employee T.L. said. 

The information is gathered directly from schools, using the ‘win-win’ principle. The center will come to middle and high schools to hold mostly free events and competitions or offer gifts, and scholarships. They then require a list of its students in return. 

There are three main sources that reveal student information, said director of the Athena Cyber Security Center Vo Do Thang.

The first source is the technical vulnerability in which schools’ data entry machines can be hacked to take away the data.

The second is from the data entry teams of schools. It is possible that some people in the schools’ data entry teams have backed up and released the information, he supposed.

Clusters specializing in data collection from many places aside from schools are also one of the reasons why personal information gets leaked.

Collections can be stored over many years, for basic student information such as names, parents, and even their phone numbers are normally consistent across educational levels, Thang said.

Data could also be exploited from prenatal clinics, he acknowledged.

The team obtains data on a group of children born in the same year along with their parents’ contact details.

These children will soon enter kindergarten and reach elementary schools where they must learn English, which means those data sets can be used for the next 10-15 years.

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Australian foreign minister meets Vietnamese students, shares viewpoint on net-zero economy



Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Wednesday afternoon met with students from the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) to speak about bilateral relations, climate change, education, and her viewpoint on the development of a net-zero economy.

During his welcome speech, UEH president Su Dinh Thanh emphasized that events like Foreign Minister Wong’s visit create bridges that connect the two nation’s endeavors, ambitions, and futures.

“Minister Wong’s visit [to UEH] serves as a confirmation of the critical role education plays in boosting ties,” Thanh said.

Sharing Thanh’s viewpoint, Minister Wong stated that she understands Vietnamese student’s desires to access advanced education, and UEH is an example of the substantial connections between Australia and Vietnam.

Speaking of the relationship between the two countries, the minister pointed out that Australia sees Vietnam as a very important partner and friend.

“Perhaps some of the questions will go to some of the challenges we face, whether they are strategic competition, climate change, sustainability,” Minister Wong said.

“The world is being reshaped and much of that reshaping is occurring in the region in which we live and share.”

She suggested that nations should focus more on the provision of goods and services that bring related values in light of the fact that the majority of the world’s economies have been committed to lowering emissions by 2030.

“Those countries that can actually take advantage of such values, as the world will increasingly ascribe to low emissions or clean-energy goods and services, will be the countries which will thrive in that world,” the minister stated.

“What’s the similarity, or what’s the connection between sustainable development goals and trade? They are frameworks where the international community has come together to agree on common arrangements and common goals that all countries, regardless of size or power, can benefit from,” Wong replied to a question from a UEH student.

“We are countries with influence, but neither of us is one of the superpowers. So we want arrangements internationally that enable us to prosper and to operate in the international sphere,” the minister explained.

Wong was on a four-day working trip to Vietnam, scheduled for Monday through Thursday, at the invitation of her Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son.

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