VNUHCMC – University of Science announces new research results
The Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City – University of Natural Sciences (UNS) has presented various new research results in its 11th scientific conference.
According to Professor Doctor Tran Linh Thuoc, in the past 2 years, the university has carried out 5 national scientific technological researches in the basic development program, 26 basic research projects sponsored by the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (Nafosted), 73 national-university-wide projects, and more than 15 projects suggested by the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Department of Science and Technology and the localities.
The UNS has also conducted researches requested by various domestic and international businesses in different fields.
There have been over 360 professional articles published in international scientific journals and 200 articles in domestic ones.
It has successfully organized and chaired more than 27 scientific conferences as well as international seminars, welcoming over 112 delegations from universities, research institutes, companies worldwide. and connected with 62 prestigious universities and academies in the world.
The conference honored many new valuable researches of lecturers and students of the university.
Community-based tourism gives economic boost to Chieng Xom commune
Chieng Xom became the first commune in Son La city to fulfill the criteria for new rural development in 2015. It now has a new look with clean, beautiful hamlets, and the locals’ lives have improved. Locals are promoting community-based tourism to increase incomes and adhere to national norms for new rural areas.
Chieng Xom, 300 km from Hanoi, is home to six ethnic minority groups. The Thai account for 90% of the commune’s population.
They live mainly by farming and raising animals. Expansive rice fields, gently rolling hills, and hospitable ethnic people are a promising formula for community tourism.
Leo Van Huong, Deputy Chairman of the Chieng Xom People’s Committee, said “In the future, commune authorities will continue encouraging Hum, Phieng Ngua, Tong, and Tong Noi hamlet to fully tap their potential to attract tourists. We’ll restore traditional crafts like knitting and brocade weaving, traditional festivals such as Xoe dancing, and folk games.”
Hum hamlet used to be very poor. The locals lived mainly by growing corn and rice. Since the hamlet piloted the community-based tourism model in 2012, locals’ living standard has improved.
Last year, per capita income in Hum hamlet reached US$107 a month. Receiving a preferential loan from Son La city, Quang Van Phong’s family upgraded their house for community tourism and converted unprofitable farmland to fruit orchards. Last year the family earned a profit of US$4,300.
Phong, who owns Long Trang Homestay in Hum hamlet, says offering homestay services is easier than farming and more profitable. Moreover, community tourism has forced local households to keep their houses and alleys clean, thereby fulfilling the environment criteria of the new rural norms.
Phong said “Since I started doing community-based tourism, my family’s income has grown. It makes our life better off and happier.”
Leo Minh Chau’s family has been engaged in community-based tourism for a couple of years. The Minh Chau homestay has become more beautiful and spacious thanks to an investment from Son La city.
“My family wants to build a community-based tourism hamlet by getting people to plant trees and flowers in their yards, for example. Improving our infrastructure and service will attract more visitors and get them to stay longer,” said Chau.
Quang Nam to celebrate 20 years of recognition of Hoi An, My Son as world heritage sites
Foreign tourists visit Hoi An
The central province of Quang Nam will organize a number of programs to celebrate 20 years of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) recognition of Hoi An City and My Son Sanctuary as world heritage sites next year.
Better school facilities help students and teachers
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a project to replace crumbling classrooms and upgrading educational equipment to create the best conditions for students.
Aiming at helping schools meet infrastructure criteria in order to implement new national educational curriculum, the project looks to address the classroom oversize in big cities and remove makeshift classrooms in mountainous areas.
Fully-packed classrooms in big cities have forced many primary schools to reduce the teaching time.
Students of Chu Van An Primary School in Hoang Liet ward, Hoang Mai district, for example, have to take only four classes per week instead of five because school facilities are unable to accommodate increasing and large number of children.
Pham Xuan Tien, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Department of Education said: “The number of primary school students in each class has surged from 60 to 69 in densely-populated districts such as Hoang Mai, Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan. Three children have to share one desk designed for two.”
Meanwhile, the ideal number for each class set by the Ministry of Education and Training is 35 students at primary school, 45 at secondary school.
Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, chief editor of the new curriculum for comprehensive education reform, said ensuring facilities implement new educational curriculum is a necessity but having 60 students in one class is impossible to ensure teaching quality.
According to the Hanoi Department of Education, there is an additional number of 25,000 to 30,000 children sent to kindergarten each year. Meanwhile one or two kindergartens of each commune are currently unable to accommodate these numbers.
In northern mountainous areas located hundreds of kilometres away from Hanoi, students have to sit in shabby classrooms temporarily made from bamboo.
This year’s rainy season flooded and swept away hundreds of classrooms and equipment of schools in the highlands of central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and northern province of Son La.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, educational facilities and equipment fail to meet demand. As much as 77.1 percent of classrooms nationwide are classified to have strong structure. About 68 percent of educational equipment meets teaching requirements.
Lau Mi Po, Secretary of the Party Committee of Lung Tao commune of Ha Giang province’s Dong Van district where solidly-constructed classrooms have been built at 328 schools, said it is hoped that the investment would not end at building classrooms only but also go towards constructing outdoor playgrounds.
According to Pham Hung Anh, head of school facilities and equipment department of the Ministry of Education and Training, in 2019, the newly-approved project on improving educational facilities prioritises investment in replacing downgraded classrooms and buying new teaching equipment for primary schools. Looking towards 2025, more investment will be allocated for other levels.
More than 16,000 new classrooms are expected to be constructed for kindergartens, primary, secondary and high schools nationwide. Under the project, more than 22,000 computers will be sent to schools.
Nearly 50 percent of the investment will be mobilised from private sector. The remaining will be sourced from the Government bond, State budget on education and fund for 2016-2020 national target programme on building new rural areas.
Ninh Thuận farmers use nets to protect jujube trees from pests
Covering jujube orchards with nets is helping farmers in Ninh Thuận Province improve the quality and yield of the fruit.
Many jujube farmers in Ninh Thuận Province, the country’s largest producer of the fruit, are improving yields and quality by using nets to cover their orchards and protect them from pests.
Đỗ Văn Thảo of Ninh Phước District’s Phước Dân Town, one of first farmers to use the method, said in previous years the Mediterranean fruit fly and other pests had caused severe damage to the jujube trees and reduced yields.
Since last year, when he began to use a net to cover his 1ha orchard, the damage had been significantly less, he said.
Since then the spoilage rate had been only around a few dozen kilogrammes per tonne of harvested jujube, he said.
In the past, the rate used to be 300-400 kilogrammes, he said.
The female medfly lays eggs inside fruits growing on a tree. When the eggs hatch and develop into larvae which eat the pulp, the fruit is destroyed.
The medfly is one of the most destructive jujube pests and famers normally use pesticides to kill them.
Đỗ Thành Thanh, who has a 3,000sq.m orchard in Phước Dân Town, said medflies had reproduced in large numbers recently and pesticides were unable to kill all of them.
So he had decided to use frames and a net to cover his orchard, he said.
The net protected the trees from pests and helped grow quality jujube, and in addition there was no need to use pesticides, he said.
For a 1,000sq.m orchard, it costs VNĐ12–20 million (US$514 – 856) for the net plus the cost of designing and building the frame.
It can be used for three to five years depending on the quality of the net and weather conditions.
The net also helps reduce the impacts of strong sunshine, frost, wind and rains on the jujube trees.
Covered orchards have a yield of 70-80 tonnes per hectare a year while uncovered ones only yield 35-40 tonnes, according to farmers.
Jujube is one of the province’s key agricultural products and is grown mostly in Phan Rang-Tháp Chàm City and Ninh Phước, Ninh Hải and Ninh Sơn districts.
It is easy to grow, the province’s weather and soil conditions are highly suitable for it and the tree fruits year round.
The province has more than 1,000ha under the fruit, with around 10ha covered by nets, according to its Plant Protection and Cultivation Sub-department.
Phạm Dũng, head of the sub-department, said using nets to protect jujube orchards had improved yield and quality.
Fruits grown under the nets also fetch higher prices, he said.
The sub-department is working with local authorities to encourage more farmers to use nets and teach them how to set up the nets and tend their fruits, he said.
Dong Nai wants to take charge of Cat Lai Bridge project
The HCMC Department of Transport has proposed the municipal government let Dong Nai Province develop the Cat Lai Bridge, which will connect the province’s Nhon Trach District and HCMC’s District 2.
In particular, the neighboring province has actively teamed up with the city to facilitate the VND7.2-trillion project by proposing taking charge of the project’s construction and calling for investors to join the project.
According to the municipal traffic development zoning plan until 2020, with a vision from that point forward, Cat Lai Bridge, connecting the two localities, is expected to boost the development of the Nhon Trach new urban area.
Earlier, the city’s government proposed the prime minister add the Cat Lai Bridge project to a master plan, replacing the currently overburdened Cat Lai ferry service. Several investors suggested building the bridge under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format.
However, BOT is currently an investment format for new roads only, not existing ones, which allows local residents to choose the roads they please.
The municipal government later ordered the suspension of the project to consider a new format of public-private partnership, so the project has yet to be approved.
The cable-stayed bridge is expected to stretch 4.5 kilometers, starting at My Thuy Intersection in District 2 and ending at provincial road 25B, which is some one kilometer from the existing ferry terminal.
Once completed, the bridge will serve as a driving force for the two localities’ economic and urban growth, attracting more local and foreign investors to the fields of industry, service, trade and tourism, which are also strengths of the two regions, alongside linking HCMC and Dong Nai with Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Prudential Vietnam funds WFF plastic awareness project
Representatives of WWF and Prudential Vietnam join hands to introduce “Building plastic pollution free communities” in Hanoi and HCM City.
Prudential Vietnam Assurance Private Ltd., and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) signed a collaboration agreement on November 16 in Hanoi on the project “Building plastic pollution free communities.”
Prudential will contribute up to 7 billion VND (299,657 USD) for the initiative in the first year and may expand its involvement in the coming years. The investment for the collaboration agreement with WWF is nearly 5.5 billion VND.
The project will start in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where the rapid economic development, robust population growth and urbanisation have had serious environmental implications. It aims to find solutions for plastic pollution problems on a large scale.
It kicks off a series of operations aiming at changing the perception of Vietnamese people on plastic consumption and its impact on the environment, ecosystem and human health.
It will also launch a chain of activities from Prudential’s Corporate Social Responsibility in the Climate Change Adaptation and Environment Protection strategy for 2018 to 2021.
CEO of Prudential Vietnam Clive Baker said Prudential had nearly 200,000 employees, agents and volunteers from more than 350 offices across the country who would participate in the waste assessment process, as well as long-term planning on plastic waste reduction. Each member would become a project ambassador to inspire change in their family, social circles and community.
“We hope to raise awareness among citizens and change the habit of using plastic products, not only for a clean environment, but also for their own health,” said Clive.
Benjamin Rawson, Conservation and Programme Development Director of WWF Vietnam, said consumers were the motivation behind continued plastic production.
“In this campaign, we will research the impact of plastic products on human health,” said Rawson. “We will share our findings and disseminate the information through community venues such as supermarkets, trade centres and school in order to raise awareness and change peoples’ behaviours.”
According to a study by the University of Georgia in 2015, Vietnam ranked fourth out of five countries in Southeast Asia, emitting 54 percent of the total annual plastic waste by volume. By the year 2025, there will be nearly one tonne of plastic waste for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean. Plastic waste takes a very long time – sometimes centuries – to decompose. This process creates methane and ethylene, which are two greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.
Over 2,550 flights delayed, cancelled in October
An airplane of Vietnam Airlines
Four domestic carriers, namely Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), reported about 2,530 delayed and 21 cancelled flights in October.
The four airlines operated a total of 22,896 flights during the month. The on-time performance index hit 89 percent with 20,366 flights, a slight drop of 0.5 percent from the same period of 2017.
Low-cost airline Vietjet Air had the highest number of delayed flights with 1,355, while the figure of the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, was 804.
The budget carrier Jetstar Pacfic and Vasco reported 353 and 18 delayed flights in the month, respectively.
In the period, Vietnam Airlines recorded nine cancelled flights, or 0.1 percent of its total flights, while Vietjet Air and Vasco each cancelled six flights. Notably, Jetstar Pacific saw no flight cancellation in October.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the late return of planes was the main cause of the delays and cancellations.
Other reasons include airports’ limited infrastructure and services, flight management and operation, weather and technical issues, the agency said.
The CAAV has asked relevant agencies and airlines to review and arrange personnel to repair technical errors, reducing number of delayed and cancelled due to those errors.
Meeting to promote Cao Bang as ideal for investment, trade, tourism
Cao Bang city of Cao Bang province (Photo: ubndtp.caobang.gov.vn)
The northern mountainous province of Cao Bang will organise a conference on November 25 to popularise its investment, trade and tourism potential.
Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Thai Ha said this will be a chance for Cao Bang to tap into its agricultural and forestry potential and make use of the advantages of a border province with international border gates and crossing points, which are favourable for trading activities between Vietnam and its biggest trade partner – China.
Local authorities will also grant investment approvals and investment registration certificates to 16 projects with total registered capital of 4.2 trillion VND (181 million USD) at this event.
Ha said Cao Bang has specified about 30 projects in different areas, including agriculture – rural development, industry, transport, trade, tourism, border economy and mineral mining, to call for investment in at the upcoming conference.
Also at this event, some memoranda of understanding on investment cooperation are set to be signed, including the Dong Dang – Tra Linh expressway project (worth 21 trillion VND), and the complex of Thang Hen Lake, Ban Gioc Waterfall tourism area and Phia Oac – Phia Den area projects (worth 5 trillion VND).
Local leaders have had many meetings with big Vietnamese businesses like FLC, Sun Group, TNJ, Deo Ca, and TH True Milk to persuade them to invest in the province, and these firms have also come to Cao Bang to make surveys, Ha added.
Cooperation with firms to commercialize research faces hurdles
Investment in innovation and commercialization of research projects is considered key to the success of universities, but access to enterprises and calls for investment face many hurdles, heard attendees at a seminar held in HCMC on November 13.
At the seminar titled, “Commercializing University Innovation – The New Zealand Story,” co-organized by Education New Zealand (ENZ) and the Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB), it was said that New Zealand ranked first in the new Worldwide Educating for the Future Index. Major factors contributing to this achievement are connectivity between schools and enterprises and investment in innovation in education systems, particularly at the university level.
Professors, doctors and experts from New Zealand’s leading universities highlighted access to firms for commercializing research works as the secret to the development of the university education system. Besides this, they introduced successful university models used in New Zealand.
The speakers stressed that the strategy for commercializing scientific research works by cooperating with firms played an important role in boosting the education system.
However, representatives from local universities said that cooperation between universities and firms for this purpose remains limited. Weak connectivity was attributed to enterprises’ low interest in investing in education. More than 95% of the country’s firms are small and medium-sized enterprises, which are not very interested or experienced in conducting scientific research and innovation activities. They tend to prioritize business operations that will help recoup their investment quickly, while investment in education requires significant time and may encounter many risks.
Sharing this opinion, SIHUB Director Huynh Kim Tuoc remarked that in addition to small and medium-sized firms with limited financial resources, Vietnam’s major enterprises and groups had yet to make much of an investment in research and development activities. As such, innovative research works by universities mainly depend on the State’s limited budget.
Others indicated that this limited spending on research has prevented works from being completed or from meeting commercialization requirements. Further, low cooperation with enterprises has resulted in research products failing to meet the demands of the market.
Addressing the seminar, Ben Burrowes, ENZ’s South East Asia regional manager, also stressed that innovation and connectivity with enterprises would bring significant success to the development of education systems.
Supply of healthcare service for Vietnamese senior people not meet demand
Presently, the Vietnamese population gets older. The speed of aging in Vietnam is among the fastest in the world and the country will face rapid ageing population since 2030. However, healthcare service for senior people is flawed.
Currently, healthcare service for elderly people is very restricted. A few infirmaries and old’s homes provide medical service for special citizens. Alarmingly, there is a serious shortage of medical workers for taking care of senior citizens.
National Geriatric Hospital Vice director Dr. Nguyen Trung Anh said that ageing population pose a practical challenge on the provision of healthcare to older people.
Plus, escalation of chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes cancer, asthma, Osteoarthritis require lifetime treatment.
Spending on health care services for the elderly has been increasing. A medical worker said expenditure on healthcare for those aged 65 years and older was seven to ten times higher than younger people. Moreover, elderly people use more drugs than young ones.
Notwithstanding, the restriction of healthcare service provision for elderly people is public concern. Only the National Geriatric Hospital and hospitals’ geriatric wards provide lifetime rehabilitation treatment to senior citizens while just some of old’s homes have rehabilitation treatment.
According to a study of the National Geriatric Hospital in 2016, of over 610 old people over 80 in Soc Son District in Hanoi, one suffers 6.9 illnesses. 33.6 percent of them are widows or widowers while 8.2 percent must live alone.
Their average income is VND 537,900 a month mainly from social welfare and pension whereas medical cost is not cheap.
Of 610 old people, just 62.79 percent have health insurance cards while 27.97 percent need assistance in personal hygiene, putting on, walking, and eating.
Up to 90 percent of them need help in using equipment like telephone, cooking, cleaning houses, washing clothes and driving vehicles.
Talking about present shortage of personnel, Director of National Geriatric Hospital Professor Pham Thang said that presently, Vietnam has not trained medical staffs to take care special citizens.
Nurses must work as caretaker creating a great pressure on them; therefore, they hardly finish their task well. Relatives of sick elderly patients hire caregivers who are not trained to look after ill people.
Demand of trained caretakers is great.
Speaking at a forum on health care held lately in Hanoi, Deputy Health Minister Pham Le Tuan said because types of illnesses have changed and Vietnam has the fastest growing aging populations, the Ministry of Health has strengthened grass-root clinics which will provide primary health care and developed family doctor model to take care of elderly people in the community.
Simultaneously, the Ministry has reinforced geriatric hospitals and trained more medical workers to take care of senior citizens as well as encouraged people to open nursing homes for old people.
Nurse staffs play important role because they directly look after old people. Accordingly, they should take heed to old people’s special needs some with mental and behavioral health problems in addition to having knowledge of nutrition and health. This is new field in the Southeast Asian country; hence, it is needed to learn experience of other countries in the world, the Deputy Health Minister emphasized.
According to Professor Tuan, foreign experts’ valuable opinions at the seminar will pave the way for what geriatric infirmaries should do and then set up a working program for future use.