Effort doesnt guarantee success
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy made the suggestion at a recent working session with the HCM City People’s Committee regarding the implementation of a national strategy on AI research, application and development by 2030.
He underlined that to promote AI development, the information and communications sector needs to create a market for AI products while the education sector must focus on appropriate training.
In terms of human resources for AI, the deputy minister said the southern city should pay attention to training programs to disseminate knowledge and connect hi-tech parks, software technology parks, and start-up incubators.
Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc placed emphasis on acquiring experts in the field and proposing policy amendments to the Party Central Committee, while seeking permission to pilot policies on AI personnel and the use of and investment in AI products.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has been asked to devise orientations towards the building of three national centres on data archiving and to measure efficiency in the national strategy.
Covid-19 outbreak is a key factor accelerating the process of digital transformation in Vietnam’s education sector.
Integration of technology has been seen as an effective mean to address shortcomings in the Vietnam’s education access and enhance its efficiency, however, there still exists a number of barriers hindering its digital adoption.
Insiders have said that the biggest issue in the sector’s digitalization is a lack of policies and guidance from the central to local levels with regard to accelerating digital transformation.
Nguyen Son Hai, director of the information technology (IT) Department under the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), told Hanoitimes that the ministry has not yet consistent regulations on online schooling, online testing, assessment as well as quality accreditation of online learning, which is far different from traditional learning.
“The ministry still lacks regulations for organizing online classes and schools in the network, including both short and long term,” Hai said.
Meanwhile, Hai said the sector’s network infrastructure, IT equipment and Internet services for schools, especially in remote areas, are outdated and asynchronous, failing to meet requirements for digitalization.
Director of IT Department under the MoET Nguyen Son Hai. Photo: Anh Kiet
He said the difference in infrastructure development among regions is a problem. To undertake the digitalization process in rural and mountainous areas is far more challenging than in big cities. “Infrastructure, platforms and the environment for digital transformation are not ready there yet,” Hai said.
In addition, the building of digital data including e-books, e-libraries, multiple choice question banks, electronic lectures, e-learning software, and simulation application software has not been systematically formed. Therefore, it is difficult to control online learning quality and content, he noted.
“Online teaching will be effective only if there are sufficient favorable conditions, which will ensure effective online teaching including information infrastructure and terminal devices. All students and teachers must have computers or devices with an internet connection,” Hai told Hanoitimes .
He said teachers need to be well trained in teaching online, while students need to be guided on how to participate in online classes and online teaching activities. Also, there must be instructions on how to organize online classes, and how to examine and assess students’ abilities and recognize online teaching results.
Covid-19 creates new thinking
When schools around the world have to close to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, online schooling is seen as a new poke promoting the Vietnam’s education sector with its effectiveness in sustaining IT skill for both teachers and students during school closures.
According to Nguyen DinhDuc, head of the Training Division of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi (VNU-Hanoi), after a six-month hiatus of 2020, students’ habits and thinking have changed remarkably.
A survey in early 2021 at the VNU-Hanoi found that nearly 60% of students want online classes.
The VNU-Hanoi has put nearly all learning materials into the digital courseware system to replace paper materials, which saves some VND2-3 billion (US$86,483-129,725) a year, Duc said.
Dao Van Diep, a teacher in Hanoi, is teaching online while students are off from school due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Anh Kiet
He noted that digitalization in education sector has also improved training quality and eased teachers’ workloads, and provided new teaching tools to teachers through the application of digital technology.
“The success of the digitalization in the education sector will make an important contribution to the formation of a digital nation,” Duc said, adding that it is an important task to reform the education sector and improve education quality.
Hoang Thi Mai, a third-year student at the VNU-Hanoi, told Hanoitimes that online schooling weakens students’ soft skills as there is no direct meeting and discussion.
“Online learning allows students to review the lectures and save time since we don’t have to travel,” Mai said.
She added that the biggest advantage of online classes is online storage of all materials, discussion questions and tests which is easily accessible for students anytime and anywhere.
Great efforts of Vietnam’s education sector
Over the past time, the MoET and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) have jointly encouraged technology firms to support and sponsor technology infrastructure, internet connection and software to help promote online schooling.
The MoET itself has developed a shared digital courseware, including open courseware, with about 5,000 e-lectures, 2,000 videos of lectures broadcast on television, 200 virtual experiments, 200 textbook items, 35,000 multiple-choice questions and over 7,500 doctoral dissertations.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the MoET has launched the website AnToanCovid.vn to build a database and draw maps about pandemic information for educational establishments. Over 18,000 schools update information daily on the website.
The education sector is building a digital capability framework for students, from preschool to general education. Students will not only practice using tools and be given knowledge, but also will develop their thinking skills and creativity.
Bach Mai Hospital Director Nguyen Quang Tuan has affirmed that the departure of 28 doctors will not affect the hospital’s operations.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) conducted an inspection campaign to assess the quality of hospitals and a survey to assess patients’ satisfaction about service quality.
The survey was conducted online, with anonymity guaranteed.
At Bach Mai Hospital, 74 percent of inpatients said they were satisfied about the hospital’s services, while the figure is 82 percent for outpatients.
The satisfaction of medical workers about the hospital was low, just 3.5/5, while it was above 4 in previous years.
As many as 2, 014 out 4,300 people participated in the survey and 15 percent said they were fully satisfied about the hospital, while 51 percent were generally satisfied about the hospital’s leaders. Sixty three percent said they wanted to work there for a long time, while 70 percent proposed increasing wages.
More than 100 workers complained that they were overloaded because of the unreasonable working regime with no time off to compensate for days on duty, and that they were subject to high pressure, low income and too many exams for ranking. They also cited many other problems, such as the lack of workers and lack of equipment, including gloves. They want more fair punishment and more compliments, more encouragement, and workers’ opinions heard.
“We are facing serious difficulties. We work under pressure, while the income is low. Many good doctors and nurses have left because the pressure has become unbearable. We are very tired, and we stay just because of the word ‘Bach Mai’,” a worker wrote.
“We have a high number of working hours daily, while the income is too low. Under current laws, every worker has eight working hours a day, but we work at least 10 hours a day,” another worker wrote.
An officer of the administration division of Bach Mai Hospital commented that the fact that 15 percent of workers feeling satisfied working in such an environment with high pressure is a ‘fairly high figure’.
“As explained by MOH, ‘fully satisfied’ means that workers don’t complain about anything and all their demands can be met. This is really difficult,” he said.
“In the context of revenue decrease of VND2 trillion, high pressure, 50 percent income decrease, hard work and Covid-19, this figure is quite understandable,” he said.
The officer went on to say that leaders of the hospital and all department heads fulfilled their tasks last year in very difficult conditions amid the pandemic and the requirements to improve service quality.
The hospital has a comprehensive healthcare regime, under which every patient has one bed and nurses have to wash patients’ hairs and clean the potty, works they did not have to do in the past.
Bach Mai became the first public hospital in Vietnam following the autonomy policy in 2020 which means that it can no longer receive funding from the State and has to cover its own expenses.
|Bach Mai became the first public hospital in Vietnam following the autonomy policy in 2020 which means that it can no longer receive funding from the State and has to cover its own expenses.|
The leaders of the hospital have been making every effort to improve service quality to increase patient satisfaction. It needs to employ more workers, but it cannot because of limited financial capability. As a result, medical workers have had to undertake more work and one nurse has to take care of many patients.
Reshuffling to improve service quality and bring the highest possible satisfaction to patients is what the hospital must do to exist in an autonomy regime. However, reshuffling is never easy and needs serious measures.
Because patients queue up at 3-4 am to register for health examinations, the hospital’s leaders asked the workers of some departments to begin their working shift at 5 am.
Heads of departments also have to take higher responsibility. Only when their departments are recognized as excellently fulfilling tasks will they be recognized as excellent workers.
The hospital has also imposed strict punishments on medical workers who have bad attitudes towards patients and their relatives. If patients make complaints, the cases will be considered and judged by a disciplinary committee. The new regulations have put pressure on workers.
“What we need to do now is provide best services and win patients’ satisfaction. If so, we will have more patients, and thus higher income. We will continue to ask to remove the bottlenecks in the financial mechanism,” he said.
What does the hospital say?
Asked about the mass resignation of 221 workers, including 28 doctors, the Bach Mai Hospital director said it was a normal phenomenon in the labor market. Many private hospitals have been set up and workers now have many choices for jobs.
He affirmed that the hospital has recruited a high number of highly qualified workers, including professors, associate professors, practitioners with doctorates, and residents.
The hospital also signed labor contracts with nurses who experienced refresher training courses in 2019.
“Bach Mai has nearly 1,000 professors, associate professors and practitioners with doctorates, so the departure of 28 practitioners will not affect the operation of the hospital,” Tuan said.
Speaking at the Theoretical Council’s meeting in Hanoi, the Party leader highly valued the council’s work during 2016-2021.
He also suggested some issues needing attention in the time ahead and asked for thorough understanding of the requirements in the political theoretical work in the new period.
The leader told the council to study new theoretical issues in the world, experiences of developed countries, along with scientific – technological revolutions.
General Secretary Trong also asked the council to improve the quality and effectiveness of political theory-related advice to help the Party Central Committee , the Politburo, and the Secretariat direct national development and defence efforts./.
Exports for the year as of March 15 were worth US$62.01 billion, a year-on-year increase of 22.7 per cent, according to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs.
Exports to the US in the first two months of the year accounted for $13.83 billion or 28.4 per cent of total exports.
In recent years the US has become Viet Nam’s biggest market. Last year, for instance, at $76.4 billion it accounted for 27 per cent of the latter’s total exports.
Than Duc Viet, general director of Garment 10 Joint Stock Company, said there were several factors behind Viet Nam’s rapid growth in exports including to the US.
Primarily, he said, the COVID-19 pandemic has gradually been controlled around the world, especially after several countries started vaccinating their populations, enabling many of them to reopen their borders and trade to resume.
Businesses in the country, hit badly for the last year or so by the pandemic, are making strenuous efforts to bounce back, he pointed out.
Many countries around the world have rolled out large stimulus packages to spend their way out of the economic slump, and this has revived trade, he added.
Many analysts concurred with these views, saying the US recently launched a $1.9 trillion package to make direct payments of $1,400 to individuals earning up to $75,000 a year starting in April.
This is the third and largest stimulus since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.
Viet Nam, one of the US’s major exporters, supplying essential items like fisheries products and garments and electronics, is expected to benefit from this relief package.
Viet of Garment 10 told Dau Tu Chung Khoan magazine that Vietnamese exporters hope to get orders from the US.
Americans are known as big spenders, and if they get the money from the Government consumption would surely rise, he said.
His own company’s exports to the US saw relatively high growth in the first quarter and are expected to grow further due to the huge new stimulus package.
Bui Viet Quang, general director of Red River Garment Joint Stock Company, said his company had enough export orders for until August this year, 80 per cent from the US.
“The US’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package will surely affect enterprises that export to the market. We expect to see robust growth [in US export orders] in the fourth quarter.”
Analysts said a recovery in the US economy would help Vietnamese exporters, especially those in the textile and garment industry.
However, analysts also sounded a warning saying while the US stimulus packages would benefit Viet Nam’s exporters in the short term, loose monetary policies could cause high inflation, which would increase their costs whereas they would not be able to increase prices immediately, affecting their margins.
Besides, the inflation would also hurt demand, they added.
Why property companies want to own banks
Nguyen Tuan Anh, director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s department of credit for economic sectors, said growth in bank lending to the property sector in 2020 was 9.97 per cent, lower than the overall credit growth rate of 12.13 per cent.
This is becoming an emerging trend.
Enterprises in the sector have found it difficult to borrow from banks after the central bank issued a circular in 2019 prescribing limits and prudential ratios for banks.
It reduced the use of short-term deposits for medium- and long-term loans from 40 per cent to 37 per cent from October 2021 and to 30 per cent from October 2022.
This was aimed at controlling credit to high-risk sectors like real estate.
In the event, the only option real estate companies have is to themselves acquire stakes in banks.
They also target owning a piece of securities firms since that would enable them to mobilise capital from the market by issuing stocks and bonds.
Thus, Tran Thi Thu Hang, the CEO of Sunshine group, became vice chairwoman of the Kien Long Joint Stock Commercial Bank in 2018 and chairwoman of KS Joint Stock Company (KS Securities) around the same time, indicating that Sunshine or related parties had become major shareholders in the two.
Analysts said the finance and property sectors always have a symbiotic relationship since the latter is highly capital intensive with slow returns.
Thus, Vingroup has tied up with Techcombank, MIKGroup with VPBank, Dat Xanh Group with Viet A Bank, and TNR Holdings Viet Nam with MSB.
While the Government’s efforts to control lending to the property sector have had some effect, banks remain an important source of funding for real estate development projects.
This trend is expected continue in future, analysts said. VNS