Vietnam schools for gifted to get $117.98 mln to upgrade

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The Ministry of Education and Training has announced that it will spend more than VND2.3 trillion (US$117.98 million) on a project to develop the country's high schools for the gifted by 2020.


Under the ten-year project, target schools will have their infrastructure upgraded, including increasing the study area for each student to 30 square meters, Pham Ngoc Phuong, deputy chief of the ministry's department for school infrastructure and equipment, said at a conference on Tuesday.


Teaching and research methodology at the schools will be improved as well, Phuong said, adding that the ministry also wants students at gifted schools to account for 2 percent of Vietnam's total high-schoolers by 2020.


The project aims to build schools of high quality as a way to improve quality of the general education system, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien told the conference.


However, representatives from some schools doubted the plan, saying its goals were "too impractical, considering the current situation of gifted schools."


Le Van Luy, principal of Long An High School in the province of the same name, said his school now has to hire classrooms outside, while 14 classes with a total 401 students are sharing one computer room.


Le Thanh Liem from Phan Ngoc Hien High School in the southern province of Ca Mau also said currently each of his students had one square meter of study space.


"Our school must be the smallest of all high schools for the gifted across the country ["¦] Infrastructure that helps guarantee educational quality like labs are facing difficulties," Liem said.


In fact, a recent survey by the education ministry showed that local gifted high schools lack rooms exclusively for different subjects like labs. Many don't have clean water and bathrooms.


However, Phuong said under the new project, 15 major schools will be given priority so they can reach the standard of schools in Southeast Asia and the world.


Another 17 schools in disadvantaged provinces, meanwhile, will receive investment to upgrade their infrastructure and equipments first.


Vietnam currently has 73 high schools for the gifted, according to the education ministry.

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