More than 22 million Vietnamese students officially started their academic year 2015-16 on Saturday, when schools across the country celebrated the new school year ceremonies simultaneously for the first time in a few years.
Local students used to attend such ceremony on different days in the past, but all schools across 63 cities and provinces were this year required to start the new school year on one same day, September 5, following an order by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.
The ceremony in fact only has a symbolic meaning as students have really started going to school in August.
At a conference earlier last month, Deputy Minister Dam tasked the Ministry of Education and Training with choosing a day for schools nationwide to kick off their academic year.
The ministry then conducted a quick survey among local educators on the issue, who eventually agreed to choose September 5 for the special day.
The deputy premier also insisted that the ceremonies be held briefly with short speeches, and include activities for students to enjoy their day.
Vietnamese students used to feel unhappy with the new school year ceremonies, where they would have to listen to lengthy speeches by school leaders under the sun.
The requests for changes by the deputy minister have thus been greatly supported by members of the public, as the briefly held events will bring students joys, instead of tiredness.
Ngoc Thao, a 11th grader from Ho Chi Minh City-based Vo Thi Sau High School, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday she was excited and really had the feeling of a new school year as the whole country celebrated the ceremony on the same day.
Meanwhile, Truc Linh, from Binh My Elementary School in Binh Chanh District, could not hide her excitement as she entered the first grade this year.
“My father took me to school this morning,” Linh said. “I’m so glad seeing my friends and teachers.”
Elsewhere in the central province of Nghe An, nearly 700,000 students in 1,600 schools also attended the festive day.
This year the province has invested nearly VND269 billion (US$12.01 million), including nearly VND 76 billion (US$3.39 million) from the province’s budget and VNV193 billion (S$8.62 million) from the society, for teaching equipment and infrastructure.
Though the opening ceremony of the Hong Son Primary School in the capital city of Vinh took place for only 30 minutes, it was a joyful event for the students, teachers and parents. Schools in Hanoi also held short ceremonies on Saturday.
Du Tat Dat, principal of Phu Luu Middle School in Ung Hoa District, said the school’s ceremony took place in around an hour, with half of the time dedicated to music performances by teachers and students.
Students from minority groups in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong in their traditional costumes also joined the whole country on the day.
K’Hoang, a tenth grader at the province’s boarding high school for ethnic students said he was very happy meeting friends from his community at the new school, as there were not many ethnic students at his former school.
Meanwhile, students from the Amakhe Primary School in Buon Ho Town in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak gathered at their school since early morning to prepare for the opening ceremony.
“The school was cleaned and prepared yesterday, then it was raining so we had to set thing up again today,” schoolmaster Nguyen Thi Tra said.
Below is a series of photos depicting the school opening atmosphere across Vietnam on September 5, 2015:
A group of schoolgirls from Vo Thi Sau High School in Ho Chi Minh City are seen at their school opening ceremony. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Le Thanh Hai, Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Secretary hits the drum to kick off the new school year at the Le Hong Phong High School for The Gifted in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Thi Nam takes her grandchild on a bike to Binh My Elementary School’s opening ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City’s. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students at Binh Loi Elementary School applaud after the schoolmaster hits the drum to kick off the new school year. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A boy yawns when attending a school opening ceremony in Nghe An province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Minister of Education and Training Pham Vu Luan hits the drum to kick off the new school year at teh Nam Tu Liem Elementary School in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Students at Phu Luu Middle School are seen during the flag ceremony in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Ethnic minority students in traditional costumes excitedly come to the opening ceremony of the boarding high school for ethnic students in Lam Dong Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Schoolboys bike to the Cu Pui 2 Primary School to attend the new school year ceremony in Dak Lak Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A student feels sleepy as she has to wake up earlier than normal for the ceremony in Binh Duong Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre