Hanoi (VNA) – The 2019-2020 school year was a special year for the education-training sector when the COVID-19 pandemic posed numerous difficulties, but the sector had managed to finish the academic year with success, according to Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha.

According to the minister, in response to impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry adjusted the plan for the 2019-2020 school year twice, and the academic year ended nearly two months later than normal.

A school year with numerous difficulties

The 2019-2020 academic year was an important year when the sector had to prepare conditions for the implementation of a new general education programme starting from the 2020-2021 school year. Major tasks in the year included the training of teachers, the preparations of equipment and the verification and publishing of new textbooks for first graders and guiding teachers on the use of the textbooks.

The sudden breakout of COVID-19 brought a new task of special importance to the sector, which is to protect students and teachers’ health. Twin targets were given – preventing the spreading of the pandemic and ensuring the quality of education and training activities.

Accordingly, students across the nation had to stay home from mid-February to mid-May. However, their studying activities were not suspended.

Thanks to the creativity and flexibility of teachers and schools, various new forms of teaching and studying were carried out, contributing to completing the plan of the school year.

The COVID-19 pandemic became a “kickstart” for the promotion of digital transformation in the education sector. Around the country, teachers and students applied information technology to deliver their lectures and study through the Internet.

The Ministry of Education and Training took the chance to speed up the project of digital education, building an E-learning database of more than 5,000 e-lectures, along with more than 2,000 lectures delivered via TV and nearly 30,000 multiple-choice questions and school connection data.

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Vietnam performed better than many other countries and territories in online learning amid COVID-19 pandemic with nearly 80 percent of students engaging in online studying activities, higher than the average ratio in OECD member countries at 67.5 percent.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities also researched and produced many technological products that effectively supported the pandemic prevention and control. This showed the efforts and capacity to respond and adapt to the tough situation and the social responsibility of the education and training sector during great global challenges.

Outstanding successes

Despite the difficulties, the sector still reaped great achievements in many aspects. The high school graduation exam 2020 was organised successfully in two phases. In the first phase, the exam was held in localities that were little affected by the pandemic and the second for those suffering more serious impacts. The university entrance exam also took place smoothly.

The preparations for the application of the new general education programme starting from the first grade in the 2020-2021 school year concluded as scheduled. The Ministry of Education and Training managed to publish five sets of textbooks for first graders, and give training to teachers.

For the first time in the history of the sector, teachers had the power to choose the textbooks for their sutdents.

The sector completed the universalization of pre-school education for five-year-old children. In 2015, only 32 out of 63 localities completed the scheme. Many effective education models and teaching methods were applied, helping students acquire knowledge more easily.

Also during the school year, Vietnamese students brought home eight gold, four silver and four bronze medals from international Olympiads. For the first time, the Vietnamese team bagged four gold medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad, and for the first time, a 10th grader brought home a gold medal from the International Mathematical Olympiad.

The sector made a giant step forwards when four Vietnamese universities entered the list of 1,000 best universities in the world.

However, the sector still faced a number of shortcomings, including the situation of teacher redundancy in some areas and shortage in the others, along with the uneven personnel quality among regions. In addition, a new set of textbook for first graders was found to contain certain problems that have caused great concern in society.

“We hope to receive more opinions to better perform our tasks in the future, thus contributing to the national construction and development,” stated Minister Nha./.