Rector of the Hanoi University of Science Nguyen Van Noi talks to the Vietnam News Agency about the preparations for the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad, which will be organised in Vietnam this July.

*Can you explain the meaning of the event? How are the preparations going?

That such a huge international event is being organised in Vietnam is proof of the country's position in the international education arena. The preparations for the Olympiad have been conducted quite properly. According to the assessment of the International Olympiad Committee, the preparations have met all the deadlines.

*What were the requirements for the drafting of the exam questions? Will the Hanoi University of Science ask for international support?

The success or failure of the event depends largely on the drafting of the exam questions. The difference between the International Chemistry Olympiad and exams in other subjects is that the host country has to prepare an exam package containing 25 to 30 theoretical exam and five to eight practical exam questions. These were posted on the host country's website for the event at the end of January. The next step is to prepare the official exam package, consisting of eight theoretical exam and three practical exam questions.

The exams, while meeting all the requirements of the International Chemistry Olympiad Committee, have to convey the host country's cultural character as well. All the exam packages were posted on the website of the 46th International Chemistry Olympiad on January 28. The official exam package will be completed soon.

We will purchase modern chemistry practical kits for 300 candidates at the coming Olympiad event by March.

The Steering Committee of the International Chemistry Olympiad, which consists of 11 reputed chemists from 11 countries led by Chairman Peter Wothers, came to Vietnam to examine the preparations for the exam last January. The committee was quite satisfied.

*Vietnamese students have for long been considered as strong in theoretical exams but less competitive in practical ones. How have they prepared for the event?

It is true that Vietnamese students are less competitive when it comes to practicals. In recent years, the Ministry of Education and Training has tried to overcome this weakness.

In the past two years, the ministry has incorporated practical exams in national academic contests such as of chemistry, biology and physics. Thus, students who are not only outstanding in the theoretical field but also do well in practical exams are selected for international contests.

I appreciate a lot the ministry's efforts to improve the situation.-VNA