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Vietnam

Vietnamese teachers encouraged to offer holistic education

Bishop Hai says educators must teach students how to fulfill their moral duties to God, their families and others

UCA News reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

UCA News reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

Published: November 20, 2021 02:27 AM GMT

Updated: November 20, 2021 03:09 AM GMT

Vietnamese teachers encouraged to offer holistic education

Students attend an online class at Gan Reo Church in Vietnam's Lam Dong province. (Photo supplied)

Teachers in Vietnam have been urged to overcome challenges caused by Covid-19 and provide proper education to students as they mark Teachers’ Day on Nov. 20.

Bishop Peter Huynh Van Hai, head of the Episcopal Commission for Catholic Education of Vietnamese bishops, said teachers across the country ravaged by the Covid-19 outbreak are accommodating themselves to new online teaching methods so that they can constantly carry out their noble mission.

Bishop Hai quoted St. Paul: "If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach."

The prelate said due to the Covid 19 pandemic, teachers and students are faced with unprecedented problems including online teaching and learning, which plunged them into complete confusion and surprises with new teaching and learning methods.

He said educators are nervous about how to make lesson plans and to teach effectively to avoid public criticism.

They have to ensure the quality of education when they cannot interact with their students face to face, many students lack proper equipment or have poor internet services, and other problems.

That means that our work does not stop at training persons helpful for society but leads to the salvation of their souls

"I would like to share these difficulties with all of you — teachers and students — and I wish that the burning enthusiasm among teachers will never wear off because in all places and at all times education always plays an essential role in human life," he said.

Bishop Hai said that by means of education people acquire the wide practical knowledge for their own lives, taking responsibility for themselves, their families and society.

"As Catholic teachers, we are called to manifest our mission in the light of faith. That means that our work does not stop at training persons helpful for society but leads to the salvation of their souls," he said.

St. Paul called it giving up the old self and putting on the new self that is created in true righteousness and holiness.

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The Second Vatican Council called educators co-responsible with parents to remind them of the importance of the educational mission they carry out for their students.

The prelate, who used to teach philosophy at southern major seminaries, urged educators not only to provide academic knowledge for students but to show young people a good life with full relationships with themselves, other people, the environment and God.

"All of us, while patiently giving our students the necessary professional knowledge, do not forget to instill in them a sense of what is good and right in life," he said in his letter to Catholic educators nationwide.

The 67-year-old bishop said talent and virtue are two completely different concepts, but they are cultivated and complement each other. As a result, both will help people become more perfect.

In conclusion, he encouraged them to become exemplary teachers, teaching students how to fulfill their moral duties towards God, their family and others, and work for the common good.

It is our Catholic faith and devotion to education that became a pillar of strength for us during the pandemic

Mary Nguyen Thi Nga, who teaches at an elementary school in Ho Chi Minh City, appreciated Bishop Hai’s letter that gave her inner strength to deal with the challenges of teaching online lessons to students.

Nga said it takes teachers much time to prepare online lessons, but students aged 6-10 pay less attention to the lessons and fail to take part in them. They are too young to take online courses. She said classes are often interrupted by technical problems and poor internet service.

The 48-year-old teacher said her three-member family was badly affected by the pandemic for months. They were isolated and given medical tests many times, and could not tutor students in summer. In the past she and her husband, also a teacher, earned 20 million dong (US$882) per month as tutors during the summer.

“It is our Catholic faith and devotion to education that became a pillar of strength for us during the pandemic,” said the teacher, who started her work 23 years ago. “We daily appeal to God to bless our jobs and teach us how to accept problems we cannot deal with. We have God’s grace that makes us different from others.”

Vietnam has 1.5 million teachers and 24 million students among its population of 97 million.

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