Ho Chi Minh City forbids schools from teaching during summer break

Students are encouraged to spend the summer break participating in activities that enhance their social skills

Children play with their teacher during the summer at Chau Van Liem Elementary School in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training has mandated that high schools not organize summer classes to give students time to unwind.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in a letter to the department’s subordinates regarding high school issues.

According to the letter, “schools are not to teach or organize classes during summer break; students are only to be called on to prepare for the next school year right before the first day of school.”

The department also discouraged organizing revision classes and forcing students to sit for sorting exams before the school year starts.

High schools in Ho Chi Minh City are to teach their curricula evenly throughout the academic year and refrain from covering all their lessons well before the end of the school year.

Optional extra classes organized by the school must not teach ahead of the curricula, the department demanded.

“Students should relax and enjoy themselves [in the summer], and only participate in summer classes if they focus on practical experiences,” said Nguyen Van Hieu, deputy director of the Department of Education and Training.

“In reality, many students have to go to school in the summer,” Hieu said. “Some high schools even force twelfth-graders to study from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm to prepare for the national exam.”

According to Hieu, students are encouraged to spend their summer break participating in sports and artistic activities, or join literature and language clubs to improve their social skills.

School libraries are advised to remain open throughout the summer so that students can get access books for leisure reading in their free time.

“The regulation forbidding schools from teaching in the summer has existed for a long time, but this year we will be stricter in our enforcement,” Hieu said.

Some educators are skeptical of the city’s plan.

“It’s not going to be free of charge for schools to organize summer activities that truly enhance students’ social skills,” a teacher in District 10 said.

“Parents are willing to pay for their children’s summer classes because their benefits are instantly observable: the students perform better at school, get better grades, and are admitted to their desired universities. But paying for summer activities? That’s something they will have to think twice about .”

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