Social Headlines December 4

Yen Tu historical site to become Buddhist centre

Measures to turn the sacred Buddhist historical site of Yen Tu in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh into a centre of Buddhism - Truc Lam sect were proposed at a seminar on December 2.

Measures to turn the sacred Buddhist historical site of Yen Tu in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh into a centre of Buddhism - Truc Lam sect were proposed at a seminar on December 2.

At the event, which was co-organised by the provincial Buddhist Sangha and the Vietnam Buddhist University at Trinh pagoda, Uong Bi city, Quang Ninh province, Yen Tu was also targeted to become a major destination of the Hanoi-Quang Ninh tourism route.

Highlighting the site’s important position in the province’s socio-economic development, delegates said the upgrading, preservation and upholding of its values have long-term strategic meaning.

Reports presented at the seminar focused on Truc Lam sect characteristics as well as its contributions to the country’s industrialisation, modernisation and international integration.

According to Nguyen Van Doc, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, the Prime Minister has ratified a project to expand the Yen Tu historical site.

Apart from restoration work, the province is stepping up efforts to complete a dossier to be submitted to UNESCO for its recognition of Yen Tu as a world cultural heritage, he added.

Yen Tu consists of five sections, including the heritage site, service area, social facilities, management and residential areas. It is known for its 1,000m Yen Tu Mountain and is the birthplace of the Truc Lam (Bamboo Forest) Zen sect.

Covering 20,000 ha, it attracts many tourists and pilgrims from all over the country.

More rural people have access to hygienic water

More than 97 percent of the rural population in the northern province of Hai Duong have access to hygienic water, according to the provincial Centre for Water and Sanitation.

The centre said Hai Duong has continued to prioritise investment in developing its water system, which aims to enhance quality of life for people in rural areas, schools and public health posts.

The province has also organised training courses for managers and operators of the local water supply network in order to ensure its sustainable operation and water quality across the province.

The local authorities have increasingly mobilised households to invest in the construction of a clean water supply, hygienic household works to improve living conditions and the local environment.

The province is working to provide access to clean water for over 98 percent of local people in 2014.-

“Small Plan” programme celebrated

A ceremony was held in Hanoi on December 2 to mark the 55th anniversary of the “Small Plan” programme and announce winners of the “Simple but Noble Examples” writing contest.

Launched in 1958, the programme aims to raise children’s awareness of environmental protection, love for labour, and the nation’s sound traditions.

Teenagers engaging in the programme have made significant contributions to the building of the Red Scarf Hotel, Tien Phong Plastic Factory, and the North-South train, among others.

They are encouraged to get involved in the scheme of building 1,000 bookcases for students in island and border areas.

During the celebrating ceremony, awards were granted to units and individuals for their excellent essays in the writing contest.

Launched on May 15 this year, the contest aims to enhance children’s solidarity, mutual affection, developing their writing skills and promoting their creativity.

Ha Giang pig farm receives VietGAP certificate

Ha Huy farm in Ha Giang province’s Vi Xuyen district has become the first pig breeding farm in the locality to be granted with the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practice (VietGAP) certification.

The farm devotes two hectares of its total area of nearly 5.5 hectares for breeding pigs. With the methodical investment and breeding process, it produces more than 20,000 pigs per year for trading.

This is one of the province’s large-scale farms having enough scale and conditions to raise pigs for food, said Deputy Chairman of the district’s People Committee Luu Ba Dinh.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, Director of the Ha Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in order to expand the model, in 2014 the department will educate local people with the efficiencies of production following this national standard.

It will provide technical training for local officials and farmers and gradually adopt VietGAP standards in local farming, so as to provide safe and clean products to the market.

The department will also suggest the provincial People’s Committee bring forth incentives to farmers, contributing to boosting the economy in poor districts of the northern mountainous province.

Conference discusses HIV/AIDS prevention

Representatives from various government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations gathered at the national scientific conference on HIV/AIDS prevention and control in Hanoi on December 2.

Delegates praised the advancements made by Vietnamese and international scientists over recent years, and the event offered an excellent opportunity for scientists to share experiences in conducting scientific research on HIV/AIDS in the global fight against the disease.

In his speech, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the active contribution made by relevant ministries, agencies, social organisations and mass media in the campaign against HIV/AIDs in Vietnam.

He confirmed that a system of legal documents have now been issued to effectively implement the national strategy on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control until 2020 with a vision for 2030.

Localities are also encouraged to increase human resources aimed at preventing HIV/AIDs,over the next few years when international aid is likely to reduce and the government budget will remain limited.

In addition, it is crucial society as a whole reduces discrimination of HIV/AIDS infected people and improves access to support services aiming to prevent and treat the HIV/AIDS infection.

Since the first HIV case was detected in Vietnam in 1990, Vietnam has achieved remarkable results in HIV/AIDS prevention activities.

Vietnam has managed to contain the rate of HIV/AIDS at below 0.3% in the community.

HCM City, New South Wales up training cooperation

A cooperation deal between Ho Chi Minh City and New South Wales partners was launched on December 2, allowing more students in the city to have the opportunity to experience education in the Australian state in 2014.

The programme will allow students to study and get certificates from New South Wales vocational training institutes in parallel with their domestic courses.

The certificates are recognised worldwide, allowing Vietnamese students to pursue employment opportunities not only in Vietnam but in other countries across the world.

According to New South Wales Minister of Education and Communities Adrian Piccoli, the programme – jointly carried out by Ho Chi Minh City, the ministry, New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission (TAFE NSW) and EMG Education – is the next step forward in the process of cooperation between involving parties.

It will make it possible for pilot projects to be carried out in a number of colleges in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014.

Under the programme, TAFE NSW – Australia’s leading provider of vocational education and training with more than 500,000 enrolments each year – will support English training and teaching skills courses for students and teachers in the city, while providing courses in various fields including tourism management, information technology, fashion design, car services and mechanics.

Nguyen Thi Hong, Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city has paid much attention to education and training development with yearly investment for the sector accounting for over 28 percent of its regular budget and 20 percent of its budget for capital construction.

She voiced her belief that the programme will be a new milestone in education and training cooperation between Australia and Ho Chi Minh City as well as Vietnam as a whole.

Vietnamese people in RoK support storm victims

Vietnamese community in the Republic of Korea (RoK) has undertaken a host of activities to collect donations for their fellow citizens in the home country’s central region, which experienced extensive damage caused by recent storms.

First Secretary of the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK Pham Quang Tuyen said that the embassy launched a programme to raise donations and received a warm response from its staff.

The Vietnamese Students’ Association in the RoK and its branches also conducted similar activities. Initial statistics show that the money collected is about US$20,000.

Apart from collectives, a number of individuals also joined hands in this drive. Notably, a charity programme organised by Nguyen Tuong Vy and her friends in some major cities of the RoK collected US$9,000 through arts and sports exchanges as well as selling souvenirs and Vietnamese food to locals.

Lessons to solve POPs/dioxin pollution shared

Vietnamese and foreign experts have shared technological advances on the assessment and remediation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and dioxin pollution in Vietnam.

At a December 2 workshop in the central city of Da Nang, they introduced methods to assess dioxin and other pollutants and update the development of technology to treat POPs/dioxin.

They provided comparison on the control and observation of dioxin in the international legal framework.

The Vietnamese experts highlighted issues related to Agent Orange in Vietnam and activities to overcome challenges to the environment and people’s health, while sharing Vietnam’s experience in assessing and managing dioxin pollution over the past 40 years.

Lessons learnt from dioxin risk management in Europe, as well as up-to-date applications to remedy POPs/dioxin in Vietnam, were also discussed.

According to Ass. Prof. Dr. Le Ke Son, head of the national project on handling dioxin under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam is one of the countries that face serious challenges posed by dioxin.

During the past four decades, dioxin has continued to exist in the contaminated areas, especially Bien Hoa airport where at least 240,000 cubic metres of polluted soil and sediment need to be treated, he said.

The event is part of a US$5 million joint project by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched in July 2010 to support Vietnam in minimising the disruption of ecosystems and health risks to people from environmental releases of dioxin-contaminated hotspots.

The project has helped handle polluted area inside Phu Cat airport, while making plans to treat and prevent dioxin from spreading to areas surrounding Bien Hoa airport.

Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Vice Country Director in Vietnam, said due to postponements in treatment activities, dioxin continues to be a serious pollution source threatening the environment and people’s health in Vietnam, especially through the food chain.

Together with the Vietnamese Government, UNDP will continue encouraging efforts in promoting communications and information sharing at national and international technical forums in the field, he stressed.

Social Science Academy celebrates 60th anniversary

The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) on December 2 celebrated its 60th founding anniversary in Hanoi in the presence of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

The Party leader praised the VASS’s achievements and contributions over the past time as well as scientists’ important role in clarifying basic theoretical issues regarding the country’s development in the new context.

Reviewing the academy’s development over the last six decades, VASS President Nguyen Xuan Thang said the academy has established cooperative relations with more than 50 countries and organizations worldwide in the fields of research, personnel training and the sharing of information.

It has a network of 35 institutes and research centres, plus magazines, publishing houses and museums, and a staff of nearly 2,000 people.

The VASS has made public tens of thousands of scientific reports and projects via domestic and foreign magazines, and published more than 7,000 book titles.

The academy has been honoured with many noble awards of the Party and State such as the Independence Order, first class, the Ho Chi Minh Order and the Gold Star Order in recognition of its great contributions to national development.

Nutrition intervention speeds recovery of hospital patients

A majority of HCM City’s 91 hospitals have set up nutrition and dietetics wards to improve treatment and recovery from surgery, city officials have reported.

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy head of the Health Department, said such wards were established following the Health Ministry’s guidelines.

At least 34 hospitals have set up dedicated nutrition wards with facilities, and another 27 hospitals, without such facilities, have a team of staff who offer nutritional guidance to patients.

Huynh Thi Phuong of the department’s medical profession division said that Gia Dinh People’s Hospital, Paediatrics Hospital No.1 and 115 People’s Hospital, for example, had effectively carried out nutrition intervention in clinical care.

Gia Dinh People’s Hospital decided to give priority to invest in a ward and now also offers counselling to outpatients, and said Ta Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the nutrition and dietetics ward.

Doctors of the ward work with other treatment wards to check the nutritional status of inpatients, especially those in serious condition, and then draw up a diet plans for them.

In addition, the ward has a facility for making nutritious meals for other wards’ doctors and inpatients, and gives advice on nutrition supplied intravenously to patients as well.

Each day, the ward serves 200-300 meals for inpatients with diabetes and kidney failure, and those who are recovering from surgery, she said.

Huynh Van An of the hospital’s intensive care unit said that most of his patients needed special nutritional care.

Nutrition intervention is especially critical for patients with more serious conditions, as it can reduce the treatment time as well as costs, An said.

Brochures are also provided by the ward to guide the hospital’s doctors on how to define nutritional status and needs for their outpatients.

The wards also provides technical assistance on nutrition intervention to many other hospitals in the city, Mai said.

The City Paediatrics Hospital No.1 also also has a dedicated ward for such services, helping clinical treatment wards assess patients’ nutritional status and setting up proper diets.

In the first nine months of the year, the ward assessed the nutritional status of 2, 257 inpatients and gave them information on a proper diet, according to the ward’s report. Of those, 61.5 per cent were malnourished and 2.57 per cent were obese.

During the same time period, the ward served meals to 11,559 inpatients, including malnourished patients, those with kidney diseases and others who are obese.

It also provides care to inpatients before they are discharged from the hospital.

Thuong has asked leaders of hospitals that have no nutrition wards to invest in them by 2015.

The department has also targeted by 2015 setting up a network on nutrition and dietetics that will include doctors of the special wards and other clinical wards.

In addition, all inpatients’ nutritional status and diet will be assessed, and by 2020, all outpatients will have the same service.

Hospital representatives said, however, that with the shortage of human resource and facilities, the targets would be difficult to reach.

Premier Australian school to boost vocational training

The municipal Department of Education and Training yesterday signed a co-operation agreement with TAFE New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s leading vocational education and training provider.

Education Management Group (EMG) Joint Stock Company, a local educational services provider that acted as a bridge between the two sides, was also a signatory.

Pam Christie, managing director of TAFE NSW, said English language development for local vocational teachers and high school students will be a high priority in the first implementation phase of the agreement.

Next year, a three-year pilot programme will be carried out in three vocational colleges in HCM City where TAFE NSW qualifications will be awarded.

These qualifications will provide students with educational pathways and opportunities in both Viet Nam and Australia, she added.

TAFE NSW teachers will visit Viet Nam to provide professional expertise and help local teachers in teaching the courses.

They will also work closely with the local industry to strengthen relationships, develop the training programme further and ensure it is contextualised to meet the needs of the domestic labour market, Christie said.

Adrian Piccoli, New South Wales Minister for Education, who was present at the signing ceremony, said more than 87 per cent of TAFE NSW graduates found jobs or enrolled for further studies.

Satisfaction rates were also very high, with more than 90 per cent of graduates and more than 96 per cent of employers satisfied with the quality of training provided, he said.

The institute works closely with enterprise partners to deliver customised training to increase workforce productivity and improve organisational performance, he added.

Do Quoc Anh, head of the Ministry of Education and Training’s HCM City branch, said the agreement will create conditions for students of vocational schools and colleges managed by the HCM City Department of Education and Training to access modern and advanced curricula.

This would improve their qualification and increase their chances of finding jobs after graduating, he said.

During Piccoli’s Viet Nam visit, the New South Wales Ministry of Education and Communities will sign a memorandum with the Ministry of Education and Training in Ha Noi in order to strengthen the co-operation in vocational training and improve English skills as well as pedagogic qualification for local teachers.

Ha Noi lays out plans to increase income growth

Ha Noi authorities have been making effort to achieve annual economic growth of 8.25 per cent and raise per capita income to VND58 million (US$2,720) in 2014.

This target was revealed in this year’s report on the nation’s socio-economic situation and orientation for 2014 at the opening ceremony of the municipal People’s Council yesterday.

According to the report, in 2013 the economic growth of the city has shown signs of recovery, as proven by higher economic growth seen in most sectors when compared to the previous quarter.

Also, the gross domestic product rose 8.25 per cent, an increase of 0.19 per cent compared to the previous year. Of this, the service sector rose 9.42 per cent, the construction industry was 7.56 per cent and the agricultural sector was 2.46 per cent.

The per capita income of city residents was about VND52.3 million ($2,450) per person – an increase of VND10.5 million ($493) per person over 2011.

The city also set a goal to raise the average level of income per capita in 2014 to VND57.5-58 million ($2,702-2,720) per person and reduce the poverty rate to 0.8 per cent.

In 2013, the city approved and adjusted 470 foreign-invested projects with a total registered investment capital of $1.3 billion.

There were also about 14.950 newly-registered enterprises, a rise of 12 per cent over the previous year, and the number of businesses which announced bankruptcy or paused its operations declined.

However, according to Chairwoman of the council Ngo Thi Doan Thanh, the city still had shortcomings. The ratio of bad debts remained high, accounting for 6.94 per cent of total loans, despite efforts by credit institutions on curbing and handling the increase of bad debts.

Further, the export turnover was down, the environmental pollution in industrial areas remained high and reforms of administrative procedures was ineffective.

The city’s committee has agreed that work in 2014 would continue to focus on removing difficulties for enterprises and developing businesses.

The city would also re-examine and adjust regulations to create more favourable conditions for individuals and enterprises to enhance production and improve competitiveness.

The city also approved the programme on developing areas specialising in agricultural production during the period of 2014-20, issued land prices and discussed changing the border of Tu Liem District.

Vietnamese migrant birds in spotlight

An event themed “Welcome Vietnamese migrant birds” has taken place in Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, with the aim of promoting people’s awareness of local migrant birds and their migrating season.

Jointly held by the park, Birdlife International, the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildlife Tourism Co. and the Vietnam Nature Centre on November 30, the event also called for the conservation of birds and the habitats on which they depend.

In Vietnam, migrant birds account for more than 60 percent of the local bird population.

According to Director of Tram Chim National Park Nguyen Van Hung, the park is now home to 231 species of birds, including 32 rare ones, particularly the red-headed crane, listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

The park boasts a rich biodiversity that earned it the recognition as the world’s 2,000 th Ramsar site in 2012.-

High school teachers stuck in neutral

High school teachers in Vietnam have shown a lack of enthusiasm for their own further studies, as they lack of motivation and are overwhelmed by administrative tasks, one teacher said.

Teachers lack of time for self-improvement. Photo: High school teacher in HCM City discussing exam questions with students

MA Huynh Van The, a teacher from Mang Thit High School in the Mekong Delta, made this comment in a report delivered at a recent seminar on the issue in HCM City.

Many teachers are simply satisfied with their position and salary, and feel no need to push themselves. This has been that many teachers lag behind in trends in education.

“Many teachers think that, with their modest salaries, it’s enough to just fulfill their day to day tasks of providing certain number of lessons per week and don’t see any value of further studies. Some of those who do want to improve themselves find it difficult to get the necessary documents,” he commented.

Generally, teachers’ salaries average around VND3-3.5 million (USD142-USD165.75) per month. Many of them consider their payment too modest for the tasks they are asked to perform.

“Teachers just don’t have the time for furthering their own education or self-improvement, as apart from teaching, they are required to do a number of other tasks, including their administrative duties, which takes up much of their time,” The said.

According to The, even though creating lesson plans is a major part of a teachers’ duty, many find it difficult because of the number of classes at different levels they must teach. As a result, many teachers create hastily made lesson plans just in order to meet their deadlines. They are due for inspection twice per week.

In several cases, despite being busy with lessons, teachers must also make report on their initiatives. However most of these initiatives are cursorily similar, many copied from others in order to meet the deadlines. They are often kept in the desk drawers of administrators in case of inspection.

Due to low pay of teachers, several organise extra classes or find a part-time work to earn extra money.

“Teachers are in fact unmotivated to further their education, let alone engaging in independent research. In several cases, those who are enthusiastic find that there is no advisatory support,” he noted.

A recent survey conducted on 10 high school teachers sheds some light on the situation . The results showed that none of the teachers who have completed an MA have published in peer-reviewed journals, and only one had presented their work at a science seminar.

In order to improve the situation, he proposed that universities invite high school teachers to participate in studies of the application of educational methods at the high school level.
Source: Dantri/VOV/Nhandan/SGGP/VNS/VNA