| Students sit for their end-of-semester exams in the schoolyard |
Luong The Vinh Elementary School in District 7 last week required over 500 fourth and fifth graders to sit for their tests on science, history and geography outdoors from 7:15 to 7:55, when the sunlight is pretty strong.
Many parents were worried about their kids’ health when they had to take the tests in the open air under the sun.
Manh, a father, complained that the sunlight could adversely affect the students’ health and psychology, thus inhibiting their performance.
Some parents displayed great anxiety and dissatisfaction seeing their kids exposed to the sun on these mornings.
Others protested that sitting on the ground to take the tests could hinder the children’s writing and, even worse, create bad postures that harm their spinal health.
A reader wrote to Tuoi Tre to criticize the school’s unconventional methods, saying that the school must have failed badly to prevent cheating in classrooms so it had to give exams outdoors for easier supervision.
Another warned that the students could contract parasitic diseases and become short-sighted by sitting on the ground and bending down to write on their small plastic chairs, instead of traditional tables.
In the meantime, there are parents who supported this type of testing, saying it was rather cool at the time and a little sunlight in the morning would do more good than harm.
“Instead of sitting in stuffed-up classrooms, the kids can enjoy the fresh air in the schoolyard,” Binh, a father, said.
Many Tuoi Tre readers hailed this testing method as “innovative” since it gave the students more freedom and self-reliance, but less pressure, thanks to the open space.
Luong The Vinh principal Ha Thanh Hai said this was not the first time the school had asked its students to take their exams in the open.
An open space like the schoolyard would give the students a sense of independence, confidence, and discipline, and forced them to do the tests themselves, without thinking of cheating or asking for help, the principal explained.
The local education and training department also backed the school, saying it always encouraged innovative testing ideas as long as students’ health and safety were ensured.
“Sitting in the schoolyard to take exams could lessen pressure on students,” said Le Ngoc Diep, head of elementary education at the department.
Diep admitted Luong The Vinh was the first in Ho Chi Minh City to have organized an end-of-semester exam that way.