Only One Olympic Champion Through the Whole of the Country’s History. Why?
Quin Anh Do lived the first 12 years of her life in Yaroslavl. Right away after returning to her historical homeland, the girl began to dream of going back to Russia. What is the reason?
In the 1970s, the popularity of the Soviet Union was off the charts in Vietnam, and many young people resolved to move: they submitted documents to institutes of higher education or would seek jobs without ado. So did the parents of Quin An, whom Russian friends call simply Anya. They got a job at a factory, and later opened their own business. However, the economic crisis of 2008 forced most families to go back home. Vietnamese born in the USSR and the RF had to undergo a harsh adaptation to a new place of residence, which, ironically, was their motherland.
“It was a shock. Before that, I lived in a quiet Russian city with a rich history; I had my much loved school and friends. Hanoi met us with an enormous density of population, endless traffic jams, and a tropical climate. The capital is always buzzing with the noise of bikes, which are the most common form of transport. More than 10 million drivers go out on Vietnam’s roads daily. People drive as they want: on an oncoming traffic, at a red traffic signal. The main rule of “survival” for pedestrians is not to twitch and calmly cross the road. Although motorbikes are designed for two passengers, up to four of Vietnamese ride them and carry a lot of things, up to cabinets and tables. They simply tie children to themselves so that they don’t fly backwards on the speed,” a student of St. Petersburg Mining University Quin Anh Do shared her impressions.
A no less serious difference from Russian reality is the religion.
“We have a socialist republic, so we are automatically considered atheists. This is even indicated on our ID cards. Many foreigners mistakenly think that the main religion of the country is Buddhism. In reality, almost all residents believe in the cult of their ancestors and reverently observe its rituals. It has no formalized creed and hierarchy of the clergy; therefore, it does not have the status of a confession. Each house has an altar for ancestors. Here they pray for the deceased relatives, asking them for good luck and protection from adversity. At the commemoration or in honor of various holidays, they prepare a special dinner for their ancestors and encourage them to taste it. In addition, many Vietnamese seriously believe in ghosts, and that they can inhabit living people,” said the girl.
In Hanoi, she went to school at the Russian Embassy, which was practically no different from the Yaroslavl one. Only palm trees grew outside the windows, and there were 10-12 people in the classrooms. The teachers were Russian, as were the educational program and textbooks. The final exam was USE. The children of employees of the embassy and local branches of Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as Vietnamese returning from Russia, study there.
The country’s literacy rate is one of the highest in the world: 94%. According to Quin Anh, this is so because parents are manic worried about the future of their children, and therefore make them study very well. They put them in hobby groups, sections and additional classes. If the slightest gap is suddenly revealed in one discipline or another, a tutor is immediately hired for the child. In Russia, such practice is voluntary but in the Republic, nobody would be interested in the student’s opinion.
“The general education program at an ordinary school is extremely complex. The emphasis is on the study of technical and natural sciences. What in Russia they study in math during the first university year, they study at high school there. Therefore, there is little time left for hobbies and personal interests. Here is a striking example: the government does not stimulate the development of interest in sports among citizens. We have been participating in the Olympic Games since 1952, but throughout the entire history, they have won only one gold and three silver awards. The only Olympic champion is the pistol shooter Hoang Xuan Vin, who won the 2016 Games. It is generally accepted that even if a child has good physical characteristics and chooses a sports career, he/she has little chance of a ‘bright future’. Only now the sports are beginning to truly develop, and, above all, football,” the student explained.
Today, young people, both in megacities and in remote provinces, are seeking higher education. Quin Anh said that one of the graduates of Mining University returned to his hometown after studying and opened a school there, in which teachers optionally teach mathematics, physics, the English language and other subjects. They help teenagers prepare for college. And the competition among applicants is sky-rocketing...
Today, the most prestigious professions in the country are medical professionals, economists, lawyers, specialists in the oil and gas industry, and IT specialists. To enter, say, medical university, it is necessary to score more than 30 points based on the results of three exams. Even taking into account the fact that a ten-point rating scale has been adopted in Vietnam, the question of how to achieve such a result arises. It is “bonus points” in addition to the highest possible marks in all three subjects that would allow to pass the entrance examinations. Such points are received, for example, by children of war veterans or employees of state institutions.
There are universities in all more or less large cities of the country. But in Asia, foreign education is considered an order of magnitude more prestigious than local. It allows young people to study in the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, see other countries, and get acquainted with their culture. The most popular destinations are Russia and the U.S.
Vietnam ranks sixth in the world by the number of students studying at American universities: altogether, more than 21,000 people get education there. As for our country, the government allocates the largest number of quotas to the Socialist Republic, allowing foreign citizens to study at Russian universities free of charge. In 2019, this figure amounted to 965 out of 15,000 allocated annually to all states.
Quin Anh wanted to return to Russia from the moment of moving to Hanoi. She learned that Rossotrudnichestvo organizes Olympiads in Russian, mathematics and computer science for schoolchildren wishing to study in the RF. Participation and victory in one of them guarantees a quota. The girl won first place in the competition in Russian and among the proposed specialties, she chose chemical technologies.
“If chemistry as such is a fundamental science, then chemical technologies are associated with the production process in many sectors: the oil and gas sector, environmental (for example, wastewater treatment), fertilizers, household chemicals, and so on. Among the universities I chose Mining University. Four years later, deciding on the place of Master’s degree studies, I decided not to change the university, since it is fully consistent with the declared high level,” explained the student.
Initially, the girl thought that the educational process will be built according to the European scheme: you choose your own disciplines, set up a schedule, and study online. But at the oldest technical university in Russia, she ran into a classical approach to education: classes are on schedule, attending lectures is mandatory. According to Quin Anh, over time, she found this streamlined system extremely convenient and efficient. In the Master’s degree and postgraduate school, young people are given a great deal more freedom: the teacher only helps to determine the topics of research and advises in which area to develop in scientific work.
In the process of training, the Vietnamese twice took practical training in Hanoi: at the branches of the oil and gas company PetroVietnam and the French Technip Corporation, which designs equipment for the energy industry. After graduating, she plans to return home and do research related to the production of inorganic chemicals.
Chemical technology is a prestigious area in Vietnam. The export of oil, gas and coal is an essential component of the country's economic development. The largest White Tiger field is gradually being depleted, so today an active search for new deposits is ongoing. In the near future, the collapse of the OPEC + transaction will also affect the state of the industry. In this context, the processing of energy carriers may become a new round in the development of the mineral resource complex.
“We need to concentrate on the development of facilities for the deep processing of raw materials. This will enhance competitiveness by increasing the output of direct consumption products, which will give greater profits than exports. Of course, we are concerned about environmental issues. For example, due to global warming, the provinces in the Mekong Delta face complete flooding, rising sea levels and hurricanes lead to landslides, but we do not exploit this topic and do not participate in the manipulation of public opinion. Guarantees of uninterrupted power supply are no less important than environmental protection. Therefore, mining companies focus on the development of their employees. So, at Mining University, the training of most Vietnamese graduate students is paid for by Vinacomin, a coal mining company,” Quin Anh resumed.
In February 2020, the 13th stage of the Russian Universities project aimed at exporting national education took place in Hanoi. Within its framework, envoys of our leading universities held working meetings with the leaders of Vietnamese universities and specialized schools that study the Russian language and technical disciplines in depth. In the process of discussing the further development of relations, Rossotrudnichestvo announced its plans to increase the number of quotas by another 20 places. The Vietnamese side paid special attention to young people applying for graduate studies, reporting an increase in their number. They are also interested in other options for cooperation. The Deputy Director General of the Institute of Geology of the Vietnamese Academy of Sciences and Technologies Wu Thi Minh Nguet expressed a desire to send their postgraduate students to participate in summer schools of St. Petersburg Mining University, and teachers to take English-language advanced training courses at the International Competence Centre for Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO.