High school graduation exam: Extra efforts needed to respond to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha speaks at the virtual meeting (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Education and Training should issue detail guidance on how to organise the high school graduation exam amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many localities made the suggestion at a virtual meeting between the ministry and the exam steering committees of 63 provinces and cities on July 31.

According to the National Steering Committee for High School Graduation Examination and local steering committees, preparations for the exam have been basically completed. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, dividing examinees into four groups and establishing new exam venues need more specific instructions.

Worry about adding exam venues

According to Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy, Hanoi is ready for the examination. In the current situation, ensuring disease prevention for candidates is paramount. “The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Training should coordinate and provide specific guidance for localities for the best implementation,” Quy said.

Sharing the same view, Duong Anh Duc, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, said that at the locality’s exam venues, there are standby and quarantine rooms for students with close contact with COVID-19 patients (known as F1).

The city even prepares additional places which are secondary schools in case there are a large number of F1 candidates.

However, Duc said Ho Chi Minh City needs around 600 examiners to mark all exam papers.

If the exam paper marking process is organised in a concentrated place, it will violate the regulation on large gatherings and pose a risk of disease infection, Duc stated, asking for more specific guidance.

In reply, Mai Van Trinh, head of the Quality Management Agency under the Ministry of Education and Training, said that Ho Chi Minh City can divide into different marking groups to ensure safety.

Also worrying about the arrangement of exam venues, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern mountainous Cao Bang province Le Hai Hoa stated that the locality now has 214 exam venues. If social distancing measures are applied, the number of rooms will increase to 248.

Cao Bang has no F1 and F2 candidates, but 600 people returning from Da Nang – the largest hotbed of the new COVID-19 wave. According to Hoa, the supplementation of exam rooms will involve in the photocopying of exam papers and the allocation of examiners.

In addition, the Ministry of Education and Training requires that candidates with symptoms of cough and fever have to take the exam separately in standby rooms. “So how is the level of cough and fever that students must be separated? Who decides?”, Hoa raised the questions.

Regarding distancing in exam rooms, Trinh said that the organisation of the exam includes many stages which must be organised synchronously from photocopying of exam papers to the allocation of exam rooms and examinees.

According to regulations, each exam room has 24 candidates with a distance of 1.2m. Therefore, maximum distancing can be used at places with no F1 and F2 candidates.

“At places with a high risk, it is necessary to quickly arrange new places, coordinate with the Ministry of Education and Training to ensure technical issues and have exam papers attached,” stated Trinh.

High school graduation exam: Extra efforts needed to respond to COVID-19 hinh anh 2Overview of the virtual meeting in the Ministry of Education and Training (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Potential risks from exam papers of F1, F2 candidates

At the meeting, Trinh emphasised the risk of disease infection from exam papers of F1 and F2 candidates. Therefore, after those candidates finish their tests, their papers should be collected separately and marked at last.

According to Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Huu Do, who is head of the national steering committee, each exam venue must have at least two standby rooms for candidates with cough and fever symptoms. The ministry will issue a specific document for the allocation of examiners and exam papers.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha highlighted the need to ensure the health of examinees, examiners and the entire community.

“There are almost 10 days left until the exam takes place. In the context that the pandemic continues developing complicatedly, we must keep a close watch every hour, not every day. In the coming time, we will continue to review to do well the rest steps of the exam. Particularly, some localities such as Da Nang and Quang Nam need to calm down to, together with the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Health, closely follow the situation to make appropriate decisions,” Nha said./.