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Vietnam’s national high school exam begins amidst COVID-19 epidemic

Sunday, August 09, 2020, 13:29 GMT+7
Vietnam’s national high school exam begins amidst COVID-19 epidemic
Students are pictured after completing their literature test at the national high school exam in Ho Chi Minh City, August 9, 2020. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s national high school exam has begun with the participation of more than 870,000 students across the country, despite the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

Students are scheduled to take their literature and math tests on Sunday, and foreign language, natural sciences, and social sciences tests on Monday.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, 900,079 students had signed up for the annual exam.

However, 32,229 students did not show up on Saturday to complete mandatory procedures prior to the tests.

Statistics show that 26,186 students in 20 provinces and cities were unable to attend the exam as they had come into close contact with COVID-19 patients or those living in COVID-19-hit localities.

The majority of these students come from central Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province, the country’s two coronavirus epicenters.

They will be able to attend the national high school exam on a later date when the epidemic is under control.

As part of COVID-19 prevention measures, test takers are required to fill out health declaration forms, detail their health status and travel history, have their body temperature measured, wash their hands regularly, and wear face masks.

All high school students in Vietnam are required to take the national high school exam at the end of grade 12 to obtain their high school diploma.

Results of the test also serve to help universities and colleges enroll students.

The exam includes five tests, namely math, literature, foreign languages, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Students in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Vietnam are pictured before taking their Literature test, part of the national high school exam, on August 9, 2020. Photo: Phuoc Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Students in Thua Thien-Hue Province, central Vietnam are pictured before taking their literature test, part of the national high school exam, on August 9, 2020. Photo: Phuoc Tuan / Tuoi Tre

The foreign languages can be English, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian; natural sciences are a combination of physics, chemistry, and biology; and social sciences include history, geography, and civic education. 

Students must complete at least four papers, with math, literature, and foreign languages being mandatory, while the fourth paper can be either natural or social sciences.

In some cases, students can take both the natural sciences and social sciences tests and will choose the paper with the higher result to be evaluated.

Since 2015, the exam often takes place annually in July.

Two students hug each other after completing their literature test within the national high school exam in Hanoi, August 9, 2020. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Two students hug each other after completing their literature test at the national high school exam in Hanoi, August 9, 2020. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Following a large outbreak in Da Nang in late July, municipal authorities had asked the Ministry of Education and Training to halt the national exam.

This year’s exam was already delayed due to prolonged school breaks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year.

Several experts also supported the idea, citing the complicated epidemic.

On August 3, the education ministry announced it would carry on with the exam following the decision of the prime minister.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally now stands at 812, of which 317 are imported cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

Ten have died while 395 have beaten the virus.

The number of local infections traced to Da Nang has amounted to 355 since July 25, when the central city documented Vietnam's first community-based case after 99 days.

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