A 54-year-old deputy chief inspector in Gia Lai Province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, was among the province’s oldest examinees sitting for this year’s national high school test.
The provincial Department of Education and Training said on Tuesday that the locality had five test takers over 53 years old.
Among them is Mai Xuan Khiem, 54, the current deputy chief inspector of the Gia Lai Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
As is common amongst older local government officials in Vietnam, Khiem never graduated from high school.
Both the education department and Tran Thi Hoai Thanh, director of the provincial labor department, confirmed the information.
During a phone interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Khiem said his existing degrees are sufficient to work as a public official.
“The Gia Lai Party Committee made it a requirement for us to secure any missing degrees so I decided to try and pass the test,” Khiem elaborated. “But since I’m about to retire, earning this high school diploma won’t actually benefit my career."
According to Le Quy Dinh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Education and Training, public servants and officials often lack high school diplomas due to previous education programs in the country which touted vocational schools as an option for continuing education after the ninth grade.
After completing vocational school, students were allowed to continue on to higher education without having actually completed the traditional tenth through twelfth grade curriculum, Dinh explained.
Vietnam’s national high school exam requires candidates to take tests in three mandatory subjects – math, literature, and foreign language – and choose a fourth test covering either physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, or ethics.
Results of the tests determine whether or not the candidates have learned enough to graduate high school.
The national exam also acts as a placement test for colleges and universities.
This year’s exam ran from June 25 to 27.