Students are back to school
REACH welcomed 335 students back to its training centers early last week.
Following the direction of the government, REACH closed all schools for nearly 2 months from 10th March to the 3rd of May. This measure was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Vietnam.
The social distancing directive (lockdown) was enacted by the government just a few days before the new batch of students was due to start.
Foreseeing the lockdown, REACH was well prepared for it. Our teachers used this time to review the training curriculum, and adjusted it to make it more appropriate to new training methods. English teachers also worked together to record videos of their lectures.
“It is quite challenging to do vocational training via online,” said Food & Beverage teacher.“But we had no better option in this situation. We need to motivate students, and keep them up to date with their training.”
Fortunately, the virtual classes were more successful than we had expected. Students showed their interests in the lectures, taking notes, and raising questions for discussion.
“We were taught essential theoretical knowledge via online classes. The teacher was very enthusiastic and accessible”, said a cooking student. “We all looked forward to the school opening so we could practice these skills”.
“It felt like a real class. We were given assignments by the teacher, and surprisingly, all of us finished them”, agreed a video editing student. “The online classes connected us, and made it easier when we met in person at school”.
That said, students and teachers faced some difficulties with technology. Some students said they had to spend hours in the garden to be able to get an internet connection, while others were using very old mobile devices lent to them by their friends.
The government lifted the lockdown at exactly the right time when students had almost finished theoretical lessons.
They couldn’t be more excited about being able to meet their teachers and friends and enjoy in-person training.
“It is amazing and exciting. I am finally able to practice cutting vegetables and food flipping skills”, said the cooking student. “After the first week at school, I now do food flipping professionally with both right and left hands”.
“It was very cool to meet my virtual friends and my teacher in person,” commented the video editing student. “The school's computers are much faster. It makes my study much more efficient.”
The COVID-19 crisis has been significantly affecting all facets of life at REACH. We have seen a number of our graduates either lose their jobs and income. This means our training and job placement for our graduates will be challenging in the upcoming months. However, we know disadvantaged youth need our support at this moment more than ever.
While the pandemic is unprecedented, and not controllable in the near future, we still need to move forward.
“Vietnam is controlling the pandemic pretty well and the domestic economy is recovering”, said Chief Operations Officer at REACH.“The disease will be handled at some point, and we need to be prepared for when the global economy, and demand for our students, bounce back.”
Despite persisting with our mission, REACH is also taking preventative measures to protect students following the recommendations of the government. These include disinfecting the whole school, asking students and teachers to wash their hands more often, and monitoring their temperatures.