Explaining MOET’s decision, deputy director of Secondary Education Department Nguyen Xuan Thanh said there are numerous competitions for students and many of them overlap.

Many students attend competitions just because they offer them privileges on entrance exams to secondary and high schools. At some schools, the scores students get from competitions are used as an assessment of students’ and teachers’ capability. This all causes an overload for students and teachers, and badly affects the education results.

Ngoc Son, the teacher at a primary school in HCMC, supports MOET’s decision on suspending online competitions because he believes the competitions have worsened the co-called ‘achievement disease’.

“In my school, there was a team of students selected to solve math questions online. Teachers were even paid to offer practice to students to prepare for the competitions,” he said.

Ngoc Mai, a parent in Dong Hoi City, whose two children have won silver and bronze medals at the national competitions, said she would like the the competitions to continue, but admitted that students felt pressure.

“I know many students have to attend the competitions though they don’t want to,” she said.

The competitions organized from the school level to the national levels have put pressure on both teachers and parents, because obtaining high prizes is the dream of many people and brings fame.

She also pointed out that many students don’t have good knowledge, but they still can get high scores at the competitions because they practice solving the questions many times, which allows them to remember the answers, and because they can use computers quickly when doing operations.

Tran Anh, a parent in Hanoi, said that it is still impossible to control the quality and fairness of the competitions, so it would be unreasonable to refer to the results of the competitions to enroll students.

But she thinks there is no need to suspend competitions, but it is only necessary to stop using the results of the competitions for assessing students’ capability in enrolling students.

“MOET itself admitted that the competitions ‘have met requirements to apply knowledge acquired from subjects learned at school’. So why stop such useful competitions?” she said.

Dang Nhung, a teacher in Nam Dinh, said she finds the competitions very useful for both students and teachers because the competitions help the former cultivate more knowledge and help the latter have more opportunities to foster expertise.