12.08.2020, 08:31

Vietnam’s unprecedented 2020 national high school exam

Vietnam’s 2020 national high school exam amid Covid-19 outbreak can be considered an unprecedented one over four decades with many special things and controversial issues, national TV station Vietnam Television (VTV) reported.

Since the country’s reunification in 1975, the national high school exam with the largest number of candidates was delayed for one and a half months.

Vietnam’s unprecedented 2020 national high school exam
 Students’ tests are disinfected. Screenshot from VTV

This year, around 900,000 high school seniors in Vietnam took the two-day exam amid the Covid-19 resurgence.

The candidates have been divided into four groups, depending on their links with Covid-19: those under medical treatment for Covid-19, those under mass quarantine, those in close contact with suspected cases, and other students.

The classification of candidates aims to ensure students’ rights and serves as an anti-Covid-19 measure in the current period. No exam has ever been held in such a delicated and complicated pandemic which is going on.

While taking the exam, both candidates and their parents are worried about their test and safety.

For the first time, all the examination venues and exam rooms had to be sterilized before and after the exams. All candidates and examination staff must check their body temperature and wash their hands with sanitizer.

And also for the first time, Vietnam’s education sector had to sterilize all candidates’ exam papers. Especially, the candidates for the first time ever wore face masks while taking the test.

 Students must wear a face mask during the exam. Photo: Ngoc Tu

This year is also the first time, only 10 hours before the exam, the education sector had to urgently replace 236 supervisors and exam staff because they are related to Covid-19-infected cases. The incident happened in the central province of Quang Tri. All provinces were requested to prepare contingency staff and back up examination rooms.

For the first time, the national high school exam must be divided into two phases. The first one was held for contestants with good health and the second one for the test takers suspected contracting the novel coronavirus (also known as F1, F2 groups) and the contestants in the mass quarantine areas.

Vietnam’s education sector has made great efforts to overcome such challenges with high spirit of responsibility. No matter what the results are, all 12-graders nationwide have now completed a “unique” exam.

Much controversy before the national high school exam

Before the recently-concluded national high school exam took place, many experts believed that the Ministry of Education and Training should consider canceling it to ensure safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Doctor Nguyen Tung Lam, president of the Hanoi Education Psychology Association told local media that students’ health and safety must come first. For the students’ sake of pursuing a university career, schools should be allowed to assess students’ academic performance during the three-year high school records to decide their admission to universities and colleges.

However, from the perspective of universities, canceling the national high school exam not only affects their enrollment plan but also directly affects candidates.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training’s university admission data in the past years, most of the universities rely on students’ academic results to decide their admissions. Up to 70% of the university admissions are based on the national high school exam results.

About 100 major universities mainly recruit students based on the results of the national high school exam. Other schools, especially the private ones, are primarily recruiting students based on their school profiles.

Therefore, as the national school exam suspension would affect the enrollment plan of major universities, the national high school exams were held with such unprecedented peculiarities.