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Ambulance called to ‘rescue’ university application for Vietnam student

An ambulance has been called to travel nearly 350km from a north-central Vietnamese province to Hanoi to rescue a high school student from wasting his 12 years of study, rather than saving him from any critical diseases.

Nguyen Thi T. and her son, Tran Cao C., apparently believed that failing to secure a place in university is as dangerous as a life-threatening illness, so using the emergency vehicle was the best choice possible.

An ambulance is seen in this file photo.
An ambulance is seen in this file photo.

On Thursday, the mother and son hired an ambulance from the 115 Emergency Center in Ha Tinh Province to go to Hanoi, in a last-ditch effort to apply for his university, center director Nguyen Quang Huy confirmed on Friday.

Vietnamese students who sat for the national high school examination, a combination of the high school graduation and the university entrance exams that took place last month, have to use the results to apply for universities and colleges of their interest.

Applications are required to be sent by 5:00 pm on Thursday, when the first phase of admission, which started on August 1, closed, according to the newly amended university entrance exam and admission by the Ministry of Education and Training.

C. scored 25.75 in the national high school examination, a result he had believed was high enough to qualify for the Hanoi-based People’s Security Academy.

But at 11:00 am on Thursday, the mother and son realized that the score was not high enough and they had to withdraw the application from the People’s Security Academy and send it to the Hanoi University of Science and Technology instead.

With only six hours left to cover a 348km trip to the capital city, the two had to resort to call on an ambulance to go to Hanoi as soon as possible.

“We saw an ambulance arrived at T.’s house, and thought someone in her family had to be hospitalized,” a neighbor of the mother told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday.

“But it turned out they wanted to go to Hanoi for the university application.”

Tran Van Dai, the driver of the emergency vehicle that brought the two to Hanoi, was also stunned to know the real reason of his trip.

“I thought they were rushing to rescue someone in Hanoi,” he said.

“They only let the cat out of the bag when we were passing Thanh Hoa Province.”

The ambulance managed to arrive in the capital city at 3:38 pm, sparing enough time for T. and her son to complete the application procedure.

The Ha Tinh 115 Emergency Center even assigned a physician to accompany the two on the ambulance, according to director Huy.

Huy also revealed that T. paid VND4.8 million (US$214) for the emergency trip.

Tuoi Tre attempted to contact T. on Friday but she was unavailable for comment.

The story of a student having to take an ambulance to finish his university admission application is viewed as the latest blow dealt to the changes the Ministry of Education and Training has made to the university entrance and admission process.

In previous years, after finishing their 12th year of school, students had to take two separate exams to graduate from high school and enter the university or college of their desire.

The high school graduation exam often took place at the end of June, while the university entrance test was administered at the beginning of July.

However, starting this year, the country has made a number of major changes in the process by merging the two exams into one.

One of the biggest troubles for students is that they are required to visit schools which they applied to directly to withdraw their profile if they want to change schools.

Students and parents who hail from other provinces than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where major universities are located, thus have to waste money, time, and health on traveling between their hometowns and these cities to withdraw their papers and then apply to other schools.