The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the life and work of hundreds of university students and lecturers.

Duong Hong Loan, Strategic Engagement Director of RMIT University, for example, said the school is facing difficulties dealing with the consequences caused by Covid-19.

RMIT Vietnam employs a high number of foreign lecturers. Some lecturers left for their home countries on Lunar New Year holiday in late January and cannot return to Vietnam because commercial flights have not resumed.

Loan said government agencies have been trying to create favorable conditions for them to book air tickets to Vietnam. However, the procedures are complicated.

“In order to get permission for one specialist to come to Vietnam, our 10 officers have to work with ministries and agencies for one month, from the city’s healthcare departments to wards’ healthcare sub-departments,” Loan said.

In many cases, the Ministry of Public Security agrees to grant visas, but local immigration departments refuse to handle the cases.

RMIT Vietnam now has 600 foreign students. Because of Covid-19, the students cannot return because they cannot get visas and there is no flight to Vietnam.

When Vietnamese schools were closed because of social distancing, the education ministry encouraged schools to teach online and recognized the results of online learning.

Other universities complain that their students are stuck in Australia, the US and other countries under student exchange or internship courses.

The students are staying abroad and waiting for flights to Vietnam as they run out of money. On average, life overseas costs them $2,000-3,000 a month.

Loan hopes that the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) will ask the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control to take necessary measures to help the students and lecturers return to Vietnam.

A representative of Vietnam-Germany University said 20-30 percent of its school go abroad each year under joint training programs.

The school is also planning to send students to Germany, and many students in Germany want to return to Vietnam. However, they cannot implement their plans because of Covid-19.

Le Quang Son, deputy director of Da Nang University, said the school has 900 foreign students, but only 300 students from Laos have returned.

Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha, while promising to work with government agencies to settle the problems, requested schools to organize online teaching instead of ‘sitting and waiting’.

When Vietnamese schools were closed because of social distancing, the education ministry encouraged schools to teach online and recognized the results of online learning.

Because of Covid-19, most education establishments in Vietnam closed their doors from February to April. 

Le Ha

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