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No more school on Saturdays: parents big yay, schools refuse

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A recent proposal to stop schooling on Saturday received applause from parents and students, but was frowned upon by schools over fears of breaking curriculum guidelines.

A recent proposal to stop schooling on Saturday received applause from parents and students, but was frowned upon by schools over fears of breaking curriculum guidelines.—  Photo thanhnien.vn

 

In the latest meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee this month during which the draft amended Law on Education was discussed, the Committee on Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children chairman Phan Thanh Bình said citizens did not fully support forcing students to go to school on Saturdays like several schools, mostly secondary schools and high schools, were practising.

He explained that both parents and teachers were against the arrangement as it cut short the weekend when families spend time together.

The education committee, therefore, suggested schools stop teaching on Saturdays.

A mother, Nguyễn Thị Lưu from HCM City’s Phú Nhuận District, said she and her husband had days off on the weekend, but her son still had to go to school every Saturday.

“Taking him to school from Monday to Friday is no problem at all, but whenever Saturday comes, both my son and I feel so exhausted,” she told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.

“I hope the Saturday-off proposal is approved as soon as possible to let my family and many others truly enjoy the weekend.”

A father in Hà Nội also supported the proposal, explaining how differently his family spent the weekend now compared to the previous year when his son was in primary school and did not have to go to school on Saturdays.

“When he was in primary school, my family used to plan a picnic or visit relatives back in our hometown during weekends. But we could no longer do it last year because of my son’s studying,” Đỗ Văn Tính from Hà Nội said.

“I think the proposal to let the students off school on Saturday is reasonable and should be implemented soon.”

Schools’ pressure

In Việt Nam, all schools have to follow a curriculum guideline established by the Ministry of Education and Training, in which they must meet the requirement of a number of classes per week – a minimum of 29 classes in all educational levels: primary, secondary school and high school. The schools, however, are free to arrange their timetables for the students to either study in the morning or afternoon session or both as long as they can satisfy the demand of class amount.

While most primary schools tend to keep the children in school all day, Saturday classes are common among secondary and high schools.

HCM City’s Trưng Vương High School rector Trương Thị Bích Thủy said if schools let the students study a maximum of five classes a session from Monday to Friday, they can only reach 25 classes in total.

“It means that they are still short of four classes and without opening school on Saturdays they don’t know what else to do.”

Schools can choose to let the students study from the morning to the afternoon to solve the issue, however, a shortage of classrooms was the main problem with this.

Nguyễn Hữu Huân High School rector Phạm Phương Bình said that though he and the teachers supported the proposal, it would be very difficult to carry out due to the class requirement and poor infrastructure.

He said that in a few localities like HCM City and Hà Nội where the populations were increasing every year, schools were under tremendous pressure to take in the mounting number of students.

“We can barely afford enough seating for the students and never even dream about arranging two school sessions [daily],” he said.

 

Source: VNS

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