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Vietnamese team wins 2 gold medals at Int’l Mathematical Olympiad 2020

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Six Vietnamese high school students who took part in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) 2020 held in Russia all received medals, including two gold ones, the Quality Control Department under the Ministry of Education and Training reported on Sunday.

The two students who won gold medals were 10th-grader Ngo Dang Quy and 11th-grader Truong Tuan Nghia, both attending the High School for Gifted Students – Vietnam National University, Hanoi.

Nguyen Mac Nam Trung, a twelfth-grade student at the High School for the Gifted – Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, won a silver medal.

Two bronze medals were awarded to Chu Thi Thanh, a 12th-grader of Vinh Phuc High School for the Gifted and Tran Nhat Minh, a 12th-grade student of Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in Nam Dinh Province.

The 11th-grader Dinh Vu Tung Lam from the High School for Gifted Students at VNU-Hanoi was awarded a certificate of merit.

The 61st International Mathematical Olympiad 2020, hosted by Russia, was organized using an online format with 616 competitors from 105 countries and territories participating.

Forty-nine gold medals, 112 silver medals, and 155 bronze medals were awarded in total.

The Vietnamese team ranked 17th out of 105 teams.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20200928/vietnamese-team-wins-2-gold-medals-at-int-l-mathematical-olympiad-2020/56984.html

Education

Vietnamese universities short of international students amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Many Vietnamese universities are struggling against the falling number of international students because of travel restrictions amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Normally, local universities admit up to thousands of foreign students each year, who come to Vietnam to take various education programs.

They are poised to create an ideal overseas study destination in competition with regional universities, but have recently encountered a hefty obstacle – COVID-19.

Every year, the faculty of Vietnamese studies of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, receives thousands of international students who learn about the Vietnamese language and culture.

According to Assoc. Pro. Dr. Doan Le Giang, head of the faculty, although this year’s new semester has started, around 50 percent of full-time students, including sophomores and juniors, have not come back.

They are mainly South Koreans, who returned home in February or March when the epidemic developed complicatedly in Southeast Asia.

Student numbers tumble

In the new school year of 2020-21, only about 45 new international students were admitted to the faculty of Vietnamese studies, dropping nearly a half in comparison with last year’s number.

Most of the freshmen are residing with their families in Vietnam while there are few students from other regional countries.

The pandemic has affected not only full-time students but also those participating in the 2+2 program, which means two years in Vietnam and two years in their home countries.

“They couldn’t come to Vietnam for the second semester last year and the situation remains unchanged in this year’s first semester,” said Dr. Giang.

The number of exchange students, who often register for a short course from two to three weeks, has also declined sharply, which is quite different from previous years.

Dr. Nguyen Trung Hien, head of student affairs under the faculty of international studies of the Vietnam National University-Hanoi, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper it is very difficult to attract international students.

There have been only seven freshmen up to now, Dr. Hien said.

“Although Vietnam has brought the pandemic under control, many international flights have not been resumed,” he added.

“As a result, many overseas students keep a wary eye on traveling to Vietnam for this semester. Some of them are not as excited as before.”

Dr. Hien’s university received more than 100 students from the U.S. and Canada via student exchange programs last year. The programs, however, have been canceled this year, including study tours and summer schools.

A few international students have met trouble in visa extension, according to Dr. Hien.

In such cases, the university has helped them with entry/exit formalities as requested.

Flying students home on charter flights

In 2019, FPT University admitted about 1,000 international students, mainly via student exchange programs, mostly from Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

According to Dr. Le Truong Tung, chairman of the FPT University Council, all activities of international training collaboration have come to a standstill this year because of the pandemic.

At the beginning of this year, the pandemic broke out when many international students were participating in student exchange programs at the university.

At the same time, many Vietnamese students were taking part in similar programs in Japan and Malaysia.

As the pandemic could linger for a long time, the university discussed with its partners and decided to let students return home earlier than expected.

The universities were responsible for the preparation and expenses in bringing students home.

The university chartered a flight to send nearly 100 students and lecturers back to Vietnam from Japan in April, before the restrictions of international flights took effect.

The situation of RMIT Vietnam University, however, did not go as smoothly as FPT University.

Many of RMIT’s students and lecturers were stranded in Australia for months since the coronavirus outbreak.

It took the university a lot of time to organize a flight carrying 270 students and lecturers from Melbourne to Vietnam, Prof. Peter Coloe, chairman of RMIT Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre.

All the passengers had tested negative for the coronavirus from 3-7 days before boarding.

After landing at Van Don Airport in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, they were sent to a central quarantine facility.

“RMIT University Vietnam has been in collaboration with authorities to help our students and lecturers take commercial flights transiting in Asian countries like Singapore and South Korea to come back to Vietnam since the beginning of October, before the start of the new semester,” Prof. Coloe.

Ad-hoc solution: going online

Dr. Giang said his university has offered students full online courses, as only around 50 percent of its international students are living in Vietnam.

Despite some advantages, online courses are not as good as normal classes, he remarked.

Regarding teaching Vietnamese, which is believed to be hard to learn, students cannot observe the ways a teacher pronounces. This is really difficult for foreign students.

“As a result, lecturers have to send documents to learners who can use them to learn by themselves,” said Giang.

Although FPT University can provide online courses for international students who fail come to Vietnam due to the pandemic, this way of teaching is not as effective as physical classes, Dr. Tung said.

Taking online classes, students will lose the opportunity to experience the Vietnamese culture and society.

Lack of foreign teachers

Many educational institutions in Vietnam have seen a severe shortage of foreign teachers given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The head of the marketing department of an English language school franchise chain in Ho Chi Minh City revealed that ten of their centers have fallen short of more than 50 foreign teachers.

If Hanoi and Da Nang are taken into account, the system is lacking in nearly 200 foreign lecturers.

Travel restrictions to prevent the pandemic have been considered as the main reason for such a dearth.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20201014/vietnamese-universities-short-of-international-students-amid-covid19-pandemic/57243.html

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Vietnamese student carrying friend piggyback in decade gets free admission to university

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A medical university in Vietnam has offered free tuition to a student who gave his classmate piggyback rides to and from school for ten years.

Ngo Van Hieu, a student in Trieu Son District, north-central Thanh Hoa Province helped his amputee friend, Nguyen Tat Minh, who was born without legs never miss a single class.

Living near Minh’s house, Hieu gave his friend a piggy ride all the way from home to school and back every day, whether it was a sunny or rainy day, throughout their entire studenthood, and even on the national high school graduation exam day.

Their story has been widely shared on social media and received widespread media coverage, describing the friendship as ‘inspiring and touching.’

The duo finished high school and both got good scores in the national high school graduation exam.

Ngo Van Hieu receives a certificate of merit from the chairman of Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee at the National Emulation Congress on October 2, 2020. Photo: Ha Dong / Tuoi Tre

Ngo Van Hieu receives a certificate of merit from the chairman of the Thanh Hoa Province People’s Committee at the National Emulation Congress on October 2, 2020. Photo: Ha Dong / Tuoi Tre

With a graduation score of 28.15 points, Hieu has been admitted to the Thai Binh University of Medicine and Pharmacy, located in the eponymous province in northern Vietnam.

The university has announced that it will waive tuition for Hieu during his study at the school and will create good learning conditions for him to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor in the future.

Meanwhile, Minh has also been admitted to the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

Bach Mai, a top hospital in Hanoi, has offered Minh medical assistance and treatment during his university years as a way to give him encouragement.

In a press release, the Ministry of Health wished the two best luck to achieve high results in study so that each day they would come closer to realizing their dreams.

Nguyen Tat Minh receives a certificate of merit from the chairman of Thanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee at the National Emulation Congress on October 2, 2020. Photo: Ha Dong / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Tat Minh receives a certificate of merit from the chairman of Thanh Hoa Province People’s Committee at the National Emulation Congress on October 2, 2020. Photo: Ha Dong / Tuoi Tre

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20201008/vietnamese-student-carrying-friend-piggyback-in-decade-gets-free-admission-to-university/57151.html

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Blind student works way to Fulbright University Vietnam

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Completely blind since the age of nine, a 20-year-old Vietnamese man has overcome the many great difficulties in his studies to enter the prestigious Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) this year.

Tran Viet Hoang’s house is only two kilometers away from Dong Loc Junction, a notorious T-junction in the north-central province of Ha Tinh that was excessively bombed by American forces during the war in Vietnam.

At the age of five, his eyes started to lose vision due to retinal detachment.

His mother, who had had to take care of Hoang without his father since birth, brought him to Hanoi, 340 kilometers north of Ha Tinh, to seek treatment.

Twenty medical sessions and four surgeries later, Hoang’s case only became worse and he completely lost his vision at age nine. 

At that time, Hoang had just completed grade four in Vietnam’s K-12 system.

Tran Viet Hoang wears a Fulbright University Vietnam T-shirt in a file photo. Photo: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang wears a Fulbright University Vietnam T-shirt in a file photo. Photo: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Due to multiple complications, Hoang could not attend classes for the next school year. He was only to resume education at the age of 11.

Without a Braille textbook and compatible study materials, Hoang had to improvise with any resources he had.

He tried to take in as much as possible from teachers’ lectures in class, then asked his mother to read homework texts for him to do at home.

When it comes to geometry and other visual-based subjects, Hoang asked his fellow classmates to communicate the shapes by drawing them on the palm of his hands. 

In grade nine, Hoang received an important gift — a special textbook device designed for the visually-impaired — from the principal of Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City.

The device has forever changed the way Hoang studies as he no longer has to rely on others to read for him.

The book also gave Hoang access to a sea of information that he would not be able to reach otherwise. 

Tran Viet Hoang (second right) is seen with his mother (right) in the photo on the left and Hoang's Braille textbook is seen in the photo on the right. Photos: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang (second right) is seen with his mother (right) in the photo on the left and Hoang’s Braille textbook is shown in the photo on the right. Photos: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Around this time, Hoang’s mother fell ill and had to spend a year in the hospital.

Since his sister was finishing her senior year of college, Hoang was left to take care of himself and his bedridden grandmother alone. 

“I felt utterly helpless and pathetic at the time. Had I been sighted, I could have done more to take care of my mom and grandmother,” Hoang recalled.

It was also at the rock bottom that Hoang was urged to exert himself fully to study. 

“I might not become somebody, but I will be a good person and will not be a burden for my family and society,” Hoang said.

At grade ten, Hoang started to engage with Love and Aspiration Foundation, a Hanoi-based institute that supports underprivileged and orphaned children. 

After two years of attending social and charity events at the foundation during his summer breaks, Hoang figured he wanted to study traditional medicine.

Nevertheless, all Vietnamese institutions only admit able-bodied people for this major, while the choice of attending school in Japan is beyond Hoang’s wildest dreams due to the cost and language barrier.

Tran Viet Hoang plays the flute in a file photo. Photo: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang plays the flute in a file photo. Photo: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

As he was trying to figure out his next step, Hoang learned about the call for admissions at FUV.

He submitted his Fulbright application only three minutes before the deadline. 

By no means a fluent English user, Hoang did not put much hope in his application — which was required to be in English.

Hoang’s essays were not about himself, but rather the underprivileged and orphaned children in central Vietnam, their struggles, and their hopes and wishes for the future. 

During the interview round, Hoang was taken aback by the diversity and novelty of ideas bouncing between fellow candidates at the panel.

He also took the chance to talk about his burning aspirations, to connect and share, and to learn to become a better version of himself.

According to Le Thi Quynh Tram, director of admissions and financial aid for the undergraduate program at FUV, divulged that Hoang scored among the top 20 percent of interviewed candidates in the batch. 

Hoang’s English skill was the only concern the selection committee had, as the university curriculum expects students to have a good command of English.

Tran Viet Hoang is seen accessing the Internet on a laptop in this file photo. Photo: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang is seen accessing the Internet on a laptop in this file photo. Photo: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

“We reached out to Hoang’s teacher to collect information. The more we discovered about him, the more we respected his perseverance and trusted in his future success,” Tram said. 

In the end, his authenticity and dedication won over the selection panel at Fulbright and secured him a spot at the school. 

Hoang did not remember what was said between him and his mother at the arrival of the news, only recalling it to be an overwhelming wave of emotions for him.

Still mountains to climb

Hoang was admitted, but did not become a Fulbright student right away.

He was required to take one whole year to study English with the help of lecturers and fellow Fulbright students. The coursework, however, was completely up to Hoang to design.

The school year concluded with a final English test, which may dictate Hoang’s eligibility to stay in the school in the next year.  

With the stakes high, Hoang put forth all of his energy to study the language.

He joined international cyber forums for the visually-impaired to make friends, attended English hangouts at coffee shops, and struck up conversations with English speakers at any chance. 

His hard work paid off in the end, as his English speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills are now up to Fulbright’s standard for students. 

Tran Viet Hoang participates in social events in these file photos. Photos: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang participates in social events in these file photos. Photos: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Hoang Thi Nhat Tam, Hoang’s facilitator in English, said that Hoang’s achievement was not thanks to any preferential treatment.

“If an able-bodied person wishes to read a book, they only need to go and pick. Hoang, on the other hand, had to go around, maybe even go the wrong way. By the time he picks up the book, his reading time is not much left.”

“[At Fulbright,] everyone has the same opportunity to study. Hoang faces a lot of barriers, and we are helping him overcome them,” she added.

This year, Hoang has officially become a Fulbright student. He has not yet determined his major, but his ultimate goal remains the same: to become a good person with the financial capacity and position to help other people. 

For the time being, Hoang is working on a few social projects, which include one for blind people. He sees those projects as his way to pay it forward and contribute to society. 

Tran Viet Hoang delivers a speech at a public event of Fulbright University Vietnam. Photo: M.G. - V.K. / Tuoi Tre

Tran Viet Hoang delivers a speech at a public event of Fulbright University Vietnam. Photo: M.G. – V.K. / Tuoi Tre

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20200928/blind-student-works-way-to-fulbright-university-vietnam/56914.html

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