Vietnam begins new school year amidst pending education reforms

September 5 is national back-to-school day in Vietnam

Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vo Van Kiet High School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Over 22 million students across Vietnam attended a national back-to-school festival on Tuesday morning as the country braces for major education reform over the next few years.

Though school activities may have resumed as early as August, September 5 has for a long time been the date when most schools hold an opening ceremony to officially commence their academic year.

In Hanoi, over 100,000 teachers and nearly 1.8 million students attended such ceremonies organized across 2,669 local institutions offering general education.

Educators in the Vietnamese capital have said the focus of the 2017-2018 academic year would be to equip its students with life skills, legal knowledge and training on traffic safety.

Over 1.6 million students attending more than 2,000 kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools in Ho Chi Minh City also entered the new school year on Tuesday.

The southern metropolis saw an increase of over 59,000 students this year compared to the last.

Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vo Van Kiet High School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vo Van Kiet High School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to the municipal Department of Education and Training, schools in the city are expected to place more emphasis on training students’ soft skills to better prepare them for real-life challenges and to help them live harmonious lives.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training has stressed the significance of this school year as a platform for the important groundwork required for a comprehensive reform of the country’s education system.

According to a draft of the reform announced in April of this year, a series of new school subjects would be introduced, including those that enhance students’ experimental creativity, technological literacy and understanding of the business world.

The reform looks to equip students with ten “core competencies” in self-education, communication and cooperation, problem solving, foreign languages, computation, world exploration, technology, computer science, esthetics and physical fitness.

The change, set to be implemented at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, will also include a complete makeover of the country’s textbooks.

First Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (C) attends the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vo Van Kiet High School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (C) attends the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Vo Van Kiet High School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Tam Vu Elementary School  in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Tam Vu Elementary School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A man fixes his daughter’s hair as he drops her off at Tam Vu Elementary School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A man fixes his daughter’s hair as he drops her off at Tam Vu Elementary School in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang talks with students at Trung Vuong High School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang talks with students at Trung Vuong High School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang beats the drum at Trung Vuong High School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang beats the drum at Trung Vuong High School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Dong Tam Elementary School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Dong Tam Elementary School in Hanoi, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Two students in Ha Tinh Province smile for a photo while attending their school’s opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Two students in Ha Tinh Province smile for a photo while attending their school’s opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Visually impaired students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Special School for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Visually impaired students attend the opening ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Special School for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City, September 5, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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