With the profound impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, as we all know, from manufacturing, service industries to education and entertainment, all suffered heavy losses. The coronavirus pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on international education, with many students, educators and parents facing not just tremendous levels of pressure but also opportunities to overcome the challenges together, according to analysts.
Due to the long absence, it is imperative for the leaders of the education system to develop new teaching methods to ensure that students are not delayed in learning. This article covers how bad the education systems in the world and in Vietnam have been affected by the pandemic and the solutions to ensure the teaching and learning process of teachers and students.
What are impacts of Coronavirus on education?
Close to a billion people are still locked down after the coronavirus outbreak brought life around the world to a virtual standstill. The pandemic is expected to have enormous economic consequences and it is also having a devastating impact on global education. Many countries have (rightly) decided to close schools, colleges and universities.
According to UNESCO, the closure of schools across the country in 29 countries affects 391.5 million young people. If the 20 countries that are temporarily closing schools in some of the expanded localities apply this measure across the country, the number of affected students will reach more than 500 million.
These nationwide closures are impacting over 72% of the world’s student population. Several other countries have implemented localized closures impacting millions of additional learners.
According to the latest figures released by UNESCO, some 1.3 billion learners around the world were not able to attend school or university as of March 23, 2020. The chart below shows the precise overview of how COVID-19 puts its impacts on global education.
UNESCO’s figures refer to learners enrolled at pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels of education as well as at the tertiary level. 1,379,344,914 students or 80 percent of the world’s learners are now being kept out of educational institutions by country-wide closures.
Another 284 million learners are being affected in some way by closures at a localized level, such as those seen in U.S. states like California and Virginia. 138 governments have now ordered country-wide closures of their schools and universities.
About Vietnamese education system
Like the global education, Vietnam’s education cannot stay outside the impaction of the coronavirus. Since the Lunar New Year, schools in Vietnam have been giving students continuous absences. Children and students across the country are staying at home to avoid the epidemic with the return to school day still quite far away.
At the end of January 2020, Vietnam discovered its first positive case of Covid-19. By the morning of March 24, Vietnam had 123 confirmed positive cases. In efforts to cope with the COVID-19 epidemic, the Government decided to suspend students nationwide from early February.
Only in Hanoi, according to the Director of the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, Hanoi currently has 3,225 non-public educational institutions, with 45,642 teachers and staff. Of these, nearly 40,000 people have to cut wages, even thousands of people are not paid.
Classrooms are spacious, but students are deserted, teachers have no job … that’s the general situation of vocational schools in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Hai Phong. Many schools have closed because enrolling new students seems to be impossible.
Besides, non-public educational establishments are facing many difficulties, encountering the risk of labor layoffs and closure and bankruptcy. According to a rapid survey, if the epidemic lasts for up to 6 months, 80% of the non-public educational institutions surveyed will experience a decrease in sales of over 50%, and 90% of these establishments are at risk of bankruptcy due to no balance between incomings – expenses, etc.
If bankruptcy or loss of liquidity, only in 200 medium-sized private schools in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, there will be thousands of teachers lost their jobs, thousands of billions of bank loans are not paid on time. It is necessary to mention that there will be thousands of foreign teachers at English centers and private schools will lose their jobs.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, teachers, staff in non-public schools and young groups face many difficulties in their lives, have to find seasonal jobs and low and unstable incomes.
What are solutions conducted by Vietnam to support students’ learning and teachers?
Recognizing the need for urgent measures to address these difficulties, the Vietnamese government and the head of education sector have implemented a number of provisional measures to ensure students’ academic progress as well as income for teachers.
Implement the online-learning method
Under the complicated situation of the Covid-19 epidemic, with the motto of “pausing to go to school, not stop learning”, the education sector has implemented synchronous teaching and learning solutions suitable to the actual situation, in which the solution of teaching via internet and on television has been carried out nationwide and gained initial results.
For disadvantaged students with poor condition of accessing the internet, the Government directs operators, radio and television stations to have support policies (free of charge, discount) on transmission lines, free connection software for all educational institutions to organize teaching, online learning to limit crowds and impart knowledge to learners.
Teaching online, learning via television, handing over lessons, E-Learning … is a case solution of education and training before the unpredictable developments of COVID-19. However, online learning also has certain limitations. Teachers are afraid that students will forget their homework, some focus on finishing it then just ask for answers. Moreover, indirect lessons, teachers and students have difficulty interacting with lectures, many of them have psychology to leave school, so they give many reasons not to watch and not receive lessons. Therefore, it is necessary to have support from parents to remind and take care of their children’s learning to improve the academic performance.
Pay unemployment benefits for private school teachers
Influenced by the COVID 19 epidemic, a large number of private school teachers have been unemployed, cut or even leave work without salary because they are not entitled to full policies as public school teachers. As a result, the Vietnamese government has conducted some temporary solutions to support those teachers to settle down.
Typically in Hanoi, there are 120 kindergartens deciding to support 50% of the salary (thus 3,273 teachers and staff in these schools have been cut in half)
The principal of a private preschool in Quan Hoa ward, Cau Giay district said that although temporarily closing operation, the school will support teachers (17 people) each with 50% of the basic salary (approximately 2.3 million). The school intends to call for support from parents.
Cut down the tuition for students
Supporting tuition for 100% of students, “spending” 20 billion to help students in difficult circumstances during the Covid-19 season, etc. are the noble gestures that many universities are making for students. This is a great motivation to help students overcome difficulties caused by the disease to study well.
FPT University spends about 80 billion VND from the school’s development investment fund to support tuition fees for students. Accordingly, students are supported 20% of summer school tuition (May to August) and 10% of associate programs.
This afternoon, April 6, leaders of Hanoi University of Science and Technology had a meeting and decided to set aside a VND 20 billion package to support tuition reduction for the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year for students with economic backgrounds. Their families were in full hardship due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In short, it is undeniable that COVID 19 is seriously affecting Vietnam’s education industry and the whole world. The problem is not unique to anyone, and the government has understood and taken practical measures to support teachers to settle down and keep going on students’ learning. Although the difficulties may last longer, with the trust and the consensus of the whole education system, the country will overcome and bring everything to the normal state.