Hanoi (VNA) – Despite many challenges, the first phase of the national high school graduation exam of the 2019 – 2020 academic year has wrapped up in safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do.

Close to 867,000 high school students – both twelfth graders and non-students – across the country sat the exam.

All localities nationwide have fulfilled the dual goals of protecting students and staff from getting infected with the novel coronavirus and ensuring that the exam is fair and objective, according to an initial report of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).

The exam used to be one of the country’s most important events of the year as the exam results not only awarded students high-school certificates but were also used as the criteria for admission to universities or colleges.

However, the purpose of the exam this year has been changed, with the results only used for recognizing high school graduation.

In addition, because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced school to close for three months, the exam’s difficulty level has been reduced to match the shortened programme.

Duo targets reached in high school graduation exam hinh anh 1This year, candidates find the testing questions not very difficult (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Most test takers said the tests were easier than those last year. About 75 – 80 percent of questions were easy and didn’t take much time to complete. The rest were either difficult or highly difficult, which helped to classify advanced candidates.

The tests were based on what the students were taught under the shortened programme, said Nguyen Hoang Son, a student sitting the exam at Hanoi’s Viet Duc High School.

“I find about 80 percent of the questions easy. But the literature questions are a bit long, so it is difficult to complete within 120 minutes. I think this test is appropriate for our graduation purpose, especially in the context of the impacts from COVID-19 this school year, which made us stay away from school for three months and led to the delay of the exam schedule by one month and a half,” Son said.

According to Son, the exam questions were not too hard, and the candidates were able to do well.

Duo targets reached in high school graduation exam hinh anh 2Many candidates were happy as they did well in the exam (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Violations of exam regulations decrease

Along with the adjustment of exam purposes, the organization of the exam this year also changed greatly as all the exam stages from supervising to point marking and reviewing was assigned to localities. The Ministry of Education and Training only took the charge of directing, issuing exam questions and providing exam software. Unlike in previous years, universities did not participate in organizing the exams this year.  

To ensure exam security, the Government Inspectorate was involved in the organization of the exam for the first time. The Ministry of Education and Training also mobilized nearly 7,000 lecturers from 216 universities, academies and colleges to work as inspectors covering all 2,029 testing venues nationwide. Therefore, the exam saw the participation of three different inspection forces from the Government Inspectorate, the ministry and localities.

Duo targets reached in high school graduation exam hinh anh 3The number of contestants violating the exam regulations through years

This year, contestants could wear face masks while taking the exam, making it more difficult to prevent cheating. However, thanks to special training for exam supervisors in the field, the number of violations reduced compared to the previous year. During two exam days, 38 contestants were suspended, fewer than 72 contestants in 2019 and 73 in 2018.

Mistakes in exam supervision activities were detected and solved timely, with the re-organisation of the exam for 126 affected contestants on August 11.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha inspects the equipment for pandemic prevention and control at the testing venue in Nam Tu Liem high school of Hanoi (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Ensuring health safety

Amidst the return and complicated developments of COVID-19 outbreaks in a number of localities, the pandemic prevention and control received great attention from the Government, the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Health with the collaboration of relevant ministries, sectors and localities.

Contestants residing in pandemic-hit localities and quarantine areas will take the exam later. All testing locations were sprayed with disinfectant and equipped with hand sanitizers. Contestants and supervisors had to make health declarations and get their body temperature checked before entering the exam venue, and wear masks throughout the exam. All testing locations reserved a special room for contestants who showed symptoms of fever and cough.

Duo targets reached in high school graduation exam hinh anh 4A medical worker checks body temperature of a contestant (Photo: VietnamPlus)

“There were some contestants having fever, so we had to trace their routine to make sure they did not contact with F0, F1 and F2 patients before allowing them to take the exam. Some others got fever while taking the exam and had to receive medical treatment before resuming the test. Thanks to the presence of medical staff at exam venues, the pandemic prevention purpose was reached,” said Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do, who is head of the Organisation Board of the National High School Graduation Exam.

Do said that the exam was a special one in a special school year. For the first time, it has been divided into two phases and delayed to August with difficulties in the weather conditions and pandemic impacts.

“But thanks to the direction of the Government, the Ministry of Education and Training and the support of ministries, sectors and localities, it can be said that the exam completed the duo targets of testing safety and pandemic safety,” stated Do.

Mentioning more than 26,300 contestants who could not take the exam due to COVID-19, Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha assured them that the ministry has prepared plan to ensure the safety and fairness for them./.